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Weekly Tip from Your Server: Put the Cell Phone Down

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A cell phone-lit dinner is what you often see looking around restaurant dining rooms in the Western world these days. Sounds romantic, doesn't it? Everywhere, there's that blue glow highlighting the blemishes, under-eye bags, and chins of diners who send electronic messages through invisible radiowaves in the air.

As a server, I frequently witness members of the same party texting away while dining, and it's just as common in the case of couples as larger groups. At times I can't help imagining scenarios in which some phone users are Twittering about the extra lettuce on a salad or updating their Facebook status about how fascinating a date is. But truly, it's depressing how common it's become to blatantly show disinterest toward one's dining companions by not being fully present.

Weekly tip from your server: Hang up your phone and eat.

The dinner table is for socializing, not social networking. I refuse to take orders from customers who are on the phone. With several parties to juggle, I don't have the time to stand by waiting for someone to stop tapping or finish a call, so I'll simply keep an eye on them and when they've hung up, I'll approach the table. I understand that it's occasionally necessary to check in with the babysitter or take an expected call from a colleague, but I'm baffled by those who text back and forth, go on Facebook and Twitter, gossip and conduct elaborate business deals at the table.

As a common courtesy, if not because everyone around you is armed with a sharp knife and fork, disconnect from the online world and connect with your tablemates face to face.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.