An overreliance on technology can create more problems than it solves

The “classic” rock tune playing got my finger tapping.

Tap, tap, went the ring on my finger as it made contact with the metal half of the shaker I was holding. So much of bartending has to do with rhythm.

“Do you know this song?” asked the tall brunette sitting in front of me.

“I do,” I said. “Do you?”

“My dad used to listen to it.”

I stopped tapping after that.

She was tall, very tall in fact. And dressed to the nines. I chuckled at that thought. I was reasonably sure she wouldn’t know what that meant. But I bet her mom would.

She kept looking at her phone.

“Is he late?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said sighing. “I guess I’ll have another glass of pinot noir.”

One person further down the bar another unusually tall brunette sat with a man. They obviously didn’t know each other very well. At least not yet. But, she did laugh at his every joke and he did listen to her every utterance. Dating is about paying attention and first dates are almost comical in their intensity.

“I like this song,” said that second woman.

“Me too,” said the man with her, a little surprised perhaps, as if he almost expected her not to like classic rock.

His phone buzzed on the bar upside down. To his credit, he didn’t answer it. Absolute attention is absolute, and essential on a first date. Some moments later her phone buzzed. And to her credit she didn’t answer hers either.

There are some bars that are banning cellphone use altogether. I get the idea. Far too many people in social settings are glued to their little devices. And that behavior has changed the entire feeling for some bars. Instead of gathering places, they have become photo backdrops for Instagram. Or for Tinder.

“I’ll have a chardonnay,” said the seated brunette when I approached.

“Really?” asked the man with her.

She looked at him.

He shrugged his shoulders.

“I guess I’ll have one too.”

The first woman’s date eventually arrived and looked up and down the bar, his cellphone held in his hand.

She looked up expectantly and then lifted her facemask to her face as she stood.

The man crossed the distance in two steps holding out his hand. Love might not happen at first sight, but lust certainly can and does.

The proffered handshake turned into an awkward fist bump. Modern dating can be so confusing,

“I’m so sorry I’m late,” he said awkwardly holding his facemask to his face. “I got lost.”

She looked at her phone on the bar. She didn’t say it, but I’m sure she thought it. – “You could have called.” –  I know that, because I thought it myself. She turned a blind eye. Funny how what gets overlooked on a first date will often end a fourth or a fifth date.

“I’ll have a…” he looked at her wine. “Red wine?” he half asked me and half asked her.

“Pinot noir,” I said, helping things along.

He sat, and they began chatting. The initial rough spot seemed to be smoothed over. People do get lost. It does happen. When exposed to the unfamiliar, one can lose track of visual clues and end up heading the wrong direction, or even miss an obvious sign. It can happen to anyone. Navigation apps can help, but sometimes a momentary loss of service can create a mistake in judgement. Which is the underlying problem with relying solely on technology.

The two couples seemed to be hitting it off quite well in their own unique ways. Sure, as with all first dates, there were some awkward moments. He ordered seafood; she was allergic. She ordered ribs; he didn’t eat meat. But everyone was relaxing. The two couples were now practically back to back. It was like looking at a mirror image posted on a wall: boy, girl, girl, boy.

“Cynthia, would you like another drink?” asked the late arriving man when it was obvious her glass was nearing empty.

“Who is Cynthia?” she asked.

“I am,” replied the other tall brunette with the other man, turning around.

“Who are you then?”

“I’m Cindy.”

It took about ten minutes to get everything sorted out. Red wines on that tab. White wines on that one. Seafood here. Ribs over there. And that was just the financial part. The romantic part never did get figured out.

Leaving me with these thoughts:

-An overreliance on technology can lead to all sorts of unforeseen issues.

-Not answering your phone can be gallant. But it can also be problematic.

-Many people are at a bar for the exact same reasons as you. Just remember that if you ever get frustrated while waiting.

-Nothing ends a first date faster than embarrassment.

-Swiping on the pictures is great, but reading the text is invaluable. Just saying.