In the next few weeks, after a very long lockdown, pub gardens will be re-opening. The day is already in my planned schedule of events and I have factored in the next day for quiet time with no sudden moves. A year on from leaving university and not much drinking practise with my mates, the last year may have taken its toll on my powers of recovery.
Reconnecting with family and friends over a pint is high on many people’s list of post-Covid activities. But what of the irritating (I do it myself) habit of looking at phones for all the reasons we tell ourselves are important. Some restaurants offer a 10% discount on the final bill if customers surrender their phones on arrival. Not difficult to do, write your name on an envelope, seal in your phone and hand it over. There is research to suggest if you put a phone into a social interaction it does two things: first, it decreases the quality of what you talk about, because you talk about things where you wouldn’t mind being interrupted and, secondly, it decreases the empathic connection that people feel toward each other. We hear the tones of another person’s voice, sense their body movements, sense their presence. It’s where we learn about other people without meaning to and a mobile phone, even just being visible on the table, decreases this ability to connect.
I am not sure if I will be suggesting this in the future but I will be more aware of it, unless of course I am waiting for Arsenal results to come in, in which case it is ok.