Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Connectivity, Eating Alone, and the Ziosk

Do you ever wonder about the extent to which we as a culture are connected?

I find it somewhat fascinating to people-watch and find it interesting to see our dependency on being "connected".

Yes, I said our, because I include myself in this. It is rare I leave the house without some form of device to "connect". I'll come back to this.

Recently, when visiting DC, I spent a alone and loved it! Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with people, but I really value and cherish downtime and solitude.

That evening I went to Chili's. Alone.
It brought to mind a story Grandma had shared with me about a Great-aunt. When her husband died, she felt self-conscious going to restaurants alone and felt as though people were judging her or felt sorry for her. So instead of going alone, she wouldn't or would wait until someone could go with her.

That thought came to my mind as I walked towards the restaurant. Yes, I'll admit, it is a little awkward going into a sit-down restaurant solita! It ended up being a sweet time.

When it was time to pay, I asked for the bill and the waitress told me I could pay on "the Ziosk".
Now I had noticed this little device on the table, but thought it was just for running ads.

You can pay the table without ANY interaction with the server, minus their bringing the food. Fascinating and a little sad.

I noticed at the bottom, guess what you can do on this device?
* Play games
* Connect
* Apps

Even eating dinner has become a place to "plug in" and "connect"

Yes, I am a BIG fan of technology, especially living far from my family, but as with all things, there has to be healthy usage, boundaries, and I have to remind myself of the importance of face-to-face contact over "connecting" electronically.

But I did learn a lesson: I can pay for my bill at the table. I was the culturally ignorant one who did not know this feature. I will say, this would be a lovely thing to have here in Panama.

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