You can’t escape the sight of pedestrians, glued to their phones as they walk the streets. Technology has succeeded incredibly with providing us the fastest and easiest way to talk to each other… even if we’re aren’t really with each other. It’s called “Instant Messaging”, and it’s killing the essence of a true conversation. You know — that reeaal, completely genuine, emotional conversation with someone who greatly interests you… If this doesn’t sound familiar, it’s probably that small screen messing with your head.
In middle school, I was introduced to social media sites like AOL’s IM, Myspace and FaceBook. It was a way to connect with my friends from school, and everyone was using it. If you aren’t familiar with AOL’s Instant Messaging program, just think of it like a sidebar on your computer screen that allows you to directly message anyone who happens to be online too. I thought of it as the start of today’s cultural habit of text messaging — AOL allowed you to send a basic set of emojis and phrase abbreviations to each other, most of which you see today as well. As for MySpace, which I’m sure we’re all familiar with at this point, allowed users to create “profiles” involving pictures, music, status updates, bios, top friends, etc.. Basically, being introduced to all of this at an early age created a habit to feel attracted to the feeling of interaction with friends through the internet. I was obviously too young to see it at the time, but it was definitely unhealthy to be involved in something like that. It’s an addiction to a world so unauthentic and fake, full of people with the intention to create a personal profile — far from their true, honest selves. I guess that’s how I see it today, but as a kid, I was mainly just interested to see if my crush replied to my inbox message. Haha.
Social media sites, however, don’t have to be completely deceptive and dangerous. Individuals who think with a business mindset find multiple ways to attract clients and customers. Other’s upload pictures, music, videos, poems, etc. as a result of putting their creativity to use. It’s not completely filled with people who (re)post nonsense in hopes to attract attention. But hey, at the end of the day, who really cares? It’s a public platform, which means anybody is permitted to use it however they’d like (with a few exceptions). Here comes the most important part… People, please, don’t let social media consume you. Remember; it’s an addiction just like anything else in this world. Every so often I’d feel shitty as I realize how fast time flies by as I scroll through Instagram. A simple way to avoid getting caught up in this unhealthy addiction, is to go outside. Meet up with people, not screens. There’s something out there called “verbal conversation”, and it’s incredible.
Well, what is there to say about a simple conversation? EVERYTHING. It’s so intricate that I’m not so sure where to start exactly. I’m currently involved with restaurant business, waiting on tables for personal income. It has it’s ups and downs, but overall it’s quite amusing and exciting to encounter random strangers who would like to try your restaurant’s food. It’s my job as a server to adapt to a handful of different situations at the same time while keeping my composure. With that being said, a good amount of experience results in a whole new understanding of people. I’m basing this mainly through restaurant etiquette, but it’s important. I greet my guests as they arrive at the table with small talk; nothing out of the blue or unordinary. From that point on, it’s my responsibility to take care of their needs throughout their meal. I can tell if someone’s having a good or bad day by their attitude, facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact, etc… It’s my responsibility to act upon whatever the guest needs; which means my observant self will stand there until you make up your mind. It’s really crazy how being a waiter allows me to notice the smallest details in everything.
Off the clock, it’s a bit different, but I’m still just as observant. A couple days ago I dined in a delicious Japanese restaurant, sitting just a cubicle away from another table with two middle-aged gentlemen. I was in the midst of my first-course meal as I saw a hand shoot up, waving back and forth. A somewhat harsh and impatient holler came from one of the gentlemen; “excuuuse me!” as he desperately fetched for attention. I couldn’t help but explain to my lady how I felt about this. I told her that if I was a waiter here I’d most definitely ignore him. Look at it this way… waiting tables, is one of thousands of ways to serve people. It’s a service, and I’m saying this because it’s our job, to make sure you don’t get up for anything except for the bathroom. It’s obvious that the man didn’t realize the importance of respect, but that’s okay. I knew I was right because just a few minutes later, the waitress conversed with the master chef at the bar, and he responded with a subtle, “Fuck him”. That part is the truth, folks. I was surprised at first, but I actually agreed with him. So, like I said, being observant is never something I’m not. Order politely, and I promise you’ll get the best service. Not from just me, but anybody.
Sometimes it’s not necessarily the meal that brings satisfaction as you leave the restaurant. A man, high up in a restaurant business, once told me that “It’s the company you share your meal with, that makes you remember how the food tastes”, and the truth within that statement is substantial. I was on a date with a beautiful lady who deserves my full attention. Everybody has thousands of unique facial expressions as we respond to jokes, compliments, good news, bad news, surprises, etc.. Everybody acts their own specific way, but it’s important to distinguish the fake from the genuine. There’s times where hearts are spilled in attempts to describe personal things that mean the most. There’s also moments of complete joy, sometimes overwhelming to the point where you can’t hold it all in. Good tears and sad tears are recognized through unique facial expressions. It’s the smallest edge-of-the-mouth smile, or the way a set of eyebrows can bring out the truth in one’s eyes, that let us know that it’s all authentic. I see it all in people I love the most; as well as my best friends, coworkers, acquaintances, all of them. To those who always show your true self, thank you. It reminds me how important it is to keep my phone off at the table.