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Reflections on Society While Eating at Bonefish Grill

I took my wife to the Bonefish Grill this past Saturday night. It was my second time eating there and overall I was pretty satisfied. For a chain restaurant, the service was solid, the food was tasty, and the price was fair.

We sat ourselves at the first come, first serve bar tops. It was nice for the first ten minutes, until a group of people sat at the end of our table. I couldn’t help but notice them, because they came in rather loud and obnoxious, and remained that way through dinner.

One woman’s cellphone remained out as she took dozens of photos of her and her nephew with no regard to anyone else around them. She even knocked over a drink at one point and confessed to being obnoxious, but that didn’t deter her from continuing with the way she was acting. There were a couple of minor political rants, the young child repeating some inappropriate phrases, and general behavior unfitting of any type of dining establishment, let alone something with food over a five dollar price point.

These were not the typical riff-raff that one might expect just stumbled into a restaurant without the knowledge of how to act civil. No, these were well-to-do, thirty-somethings, dressed nicely, and seemingly well off. I think that is why this made such an impact on me.

I sat there, focusing on my breath, and trying to make the best of the evening. I tried not to feel down about the world and my lack of faith in society, but it was so hard when watching these people interact the way that they were. I looked around the full restaurant at the other tables and tried to soak in that most of the people dining were not as ill-behaved as these folks. Then came a storm warning and I watched as dozens of little beeps notified almost everyone in the restaurant of the storm. There was a collective sigh and I just turned to my wife and said, “I miss the 90’s.”

I’ve been struggling the past couple of weeks with people. I find myself becoming more reclusive and I’m attempting to fight at it. I don’t want to be one of those people who stays inside all the time and controls their environment, but being around people sure brings that out in me. I wonder if this is an age thing, where my idea of how people should behave clashes due to an ever-changing world. Or is the world getting ruder and meaner? Or am I suffering from mean world syndrome?

I realize that I need to do some work on myself. I need to find some more time for meditation, and I may need to recommit to studying Buddhism and Stoicism some more. I need to learn to control my reactions, since the way other people choose to live is obviously beyond my control.

Until then, I’ll avoid the high-tops at Bonefish.

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