Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tech Lunch

The trainer’s hand slapped the horse’s backside and we were off. Scotty went from a trot to a canter in two strides. How was I supposed to stay on him at this gait? I suddenly forgot everything I had learned as my knees burrowed into the horse’s side. I knew if I fell off this beast at the current pace, I would break my neck. I tugged on the reins and… 

“Hi, can I join you?” my coworker asked.

I looked up from my Kindle and saw my colleague standing there with his lunch tray in one hand and his iPad in the other. Impressive. I would never be able to balance both at once, especially with that huge glass of soda positioned in the left-hand corner.

“Yes, of course,” I said, sitting up a bit straighter. “I was just reading. I’m in the middle of a gripping scene.”

“No worries. My friends are visiting from D.C. this weekend and I have to figure out where to take them for dinner,” he informed me as he set his tray down and turned on his device.

“Oh good, you are preoccupied, perfect,” I said with a smile. He laughed, taking a sip of his drink and started what looked like finger painting on his iPad.

Now, where was I…tugged on the reins and

“Hey guys, is this where we are having lunch?” another coworker asked.

I looked up again to find another colleague of mine standing next to us while staring at her smart phone. It was just as well that she wasn’t regarding me at that moment since my eyebrows were lowered and my mouth pinched. I wasn’t frowning because of her.  She was lovely, but I did want to finish reading this sentence at some point during my lunch hour.

“Yep, we’re both just finishing up some things over lunch,” I said.

“Cool, a tech lunch,” she said, taking a seat.

Is that what this was? I was about to ask her if that was a real term, but she had already started chuckling at whatever she was responding to on her phone. I bent my head to resume reading when I heard another coworker’s voice.

“Are all of you working during lunch?” a third colleague asked.

“No, we are just…having a tech lunch,” I said.

“Oh, I have some emails to respond to, do you mind if I join you?” she asked with a BlackBerry held at her side.

“No, please,” I said waving my arm like Vanna White, inviting her to take a seat. “Hey, where did you get the apple crumble?”

Before she could answer, the male colleague at our table had a more pertinent question.

“Does anyone know of a cheap, but good place for dinner in the Village?” he asked without averting his eyes or his fingers from his iPad.

“Try MenuPages,” was the unanimous reply.

After glancing around and taking a bite of our food, we settled in. We were enjoying our lunch hour together with our heads bowed. Or was it the illusion of being together while really having lunch with our devices? Is it out of habit and conditioning that we sit down with others during lunch? Do we merely seek warm bodies in order to disguise ourselves among the collective? Or do we crave both cyber and reality fixes? Speaking of craving, I’m finding myself concentrating more on that apple crumble than on my eBook. Please excuse me while I find some, reality beckons.