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Distraction is a delicious side dish

OPINION

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August 29, 2012|By Doris Dadayan, @dorisdadayan | For RedEye

Between texting, Yelping, tweeting, Instagraming and coming up with a good line for a Facebook check-in (don't judge), distracted dining has become the new norm and, let me tell you, I am all for it.

But it looks like one restaurant owner is trying to change our dining etiquette. According to a recent CNN story, a restaurant in L.A. is offering customers a 5 percent discount to check their phones at the door to be more in the moment with their meal, and with each other.

Huh. Back to the basics? Back to the days when people gathered at the table, talked about their days and savored their food? Hold the phone, man! Do they seriously think they can tempt me with a deal to focus on my fellow diners instead of the phone screen? Pssssh. Please.

Eating on the run. Snacking at my desk. Noshing in front of the TV. Beer in the shower. Coffee on the treadmill. Multitasking. THIS is my life.

Texting, "liking" everyone's pics, tweeting, uploading, deleting, cropping and everything else I do to keep myself from doing what I'm supposed to be doing, with whoever I am supposed to be doing it with—that's the only way I know how to survive. Why would they try to take it all away, especially at a fine dining establishment?

I'm wired, and I am not ashamed. My phone sleeps next to me, and it will eat next to me. If a restaurant offered 5 percent off for toupee removal or 10 percent off for bringing in all my unpaid parking tickets, then yeah you got my business. I think I would become physically ill if they tried to take my cellphone away during dinner. Not from the food, but from the separation anxiety. I HAVE to do a check-in on Facebook or tweet about the deliciousness of my food. Humans should never be separated from phones or their News Feeds. My mom even knows that now (after she tried hiding my cell and I threw a tantrum). Why even take that risk?

Never mind those other humans at your table. And what do you do if your phone IS more interesting than your dinner date? Frowny face.

So, what I think about all of this—what I REALLY think—is ... tap, tap, tap ... and what I was trying to say is that when you go to a restaurant, you want to enjoy a really good ... tap, tap, tap ... yeah, sorry, so, when I am in a restaurant I should be focused on ... tap, tap, tap ... and with friends there it should only be ... tap, tap, tap ... wait lemme just send this real quick ... oh yessss my food's here ... tap, tap ... let's eat ... tap, tap ... ahhh one more pic of that pot pie to upload for Instagram ...

Sent from my iPhone.

Doris Dadayan is a RedEye special contributor.

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