Why No One Talks to Anyone Anymore

I was back in my home state of Minnesota recently visiting my family there. One day I went into a diner located in a small town just outside Minneapolis.

A diner is a restaurant that usually has breakfast food served all or most of the day, plus hamburgers, salads, and sandwiches. It is a very informal restaurant, popular originally in the Midwest (where Minnesota is) and Northeast parts of the United States, but nowadays (right now, at this time) found in almost any city or town.

A diner usually has a “counter” or bar area where individual customers can sit, lined up in a straight row. There are also “booths” to sit in, which have benches instead of chairs. (A bench is like a wide chair for two or more people.)

Many diners are open 24 hours a day, so you can have breakfast right after leaving the dance club at 2:00 AM (I did that when I was younger!).

I like this particular diner I visited on my trip because it was like “stepping back in time,” that is, going back to some previous time in history. The prices for breakfast were very cheap, perhaps half what it would cost you in a regular restaurant in Minneapolis.

How cheap? You can order eggs, toast (bread), and hash browns (potatoes cut up and fried in a pan) for only $4.35. That meal would cost two or three times that amount in Los Angeles!

Over the counter area, there was a sign that said:


Of course, we all know that when you go to a restaurant nowadays, you will see at least half of the people – children, teens, adults – looking down at their smartphones instead of talking to one another.

I have a rule never to check my phone when I am with another person without asking for his or her permission, and then only if it is something that seems urgent (must be done immediately). But sometimes I forget, since there always seems to be some reason for “checking our phones.”

My guess is that smartphones, as a new technology, are a bit like automobiles in the early 20th century. When cars were first used, there were few rules and a lot of dangerous driving. Eventually, however, people changed their behavior and started to drive more carefully.

Will people eventually (someday) change the way they use their smartphones? I hope so.

Next time you are with another person, try to NOT look at your phone, and talk to the person instead. You might just enjoy it!


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