I was late getting on the road to Starkville on Thursday, but it turned out I only thought I was late.
By the time I hit West Point, the belly had been making demands for miles, so I pulled into a fine dining establishment.
I took my Quarter Pounder with Cheese, freshly cooked fries and Dr. Pepper to a table, then pulled out my phone to scan the Internet.
I don’t recall anything memorable from the World Wide Web that day. My online excursion simply filled the time while I ate alone.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
In decades past, I might’ve carried a magazine or a book in with me, and knowing my reading patterns, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have come across anything worth remembering in those, either.
So there I was, eating my fries first with one hand so I wouldn’t get any grease on the phone’s screen. It was no hardship because, as mentioned earlier, the fries were nice and hot, which doesn’t always happen at fine dining establishments.
I ate and surfed, but got distracted by a lady a couple of tables away. At first, I thought she was trying to get my attention but she gave me a sour look when we made eye-contact.
She was involved in an important call that involved a relative who hadn’t been acting right.
I don’t know the specifics because I wasn’t actively listening, but I couldn’t keep from picking up the central theme as it was repeated often with colorful language that, sadly, I can’t reproduce for you here.
During the time I ate and surfed and tried not to listen, three men came in at different times. All three walked in front of the woman and me, and they all were fully engaged in conversations on phones held up close to their ears.
A tiny, niggling part of my brain argued that the mindful path would’ve been to eat without distracting myself with the Internet.
But how was I supposed to act on that when I was too busy ignoring the screaming part of my brain that wanted me to know that I’d be paying for that Quarter Pounder for days to come?
As far as everyone using their phones, I’ve got no complaints. I just found it odd that the five of us were in one place together for this distinct period of time, and it could be argued we were all in separate places, too.
I don’t remember anything I read on the Web that day at the fine dining establishment, but I recall the lady and the three guys and the lukewarm burger and the hot fries.
I wonder what they remember. Were the rest of us even blips on their screens? Or did they stay focused on their own lives?
There probably aren’t any wrong answers. The world’s not what it was, is all.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.