Rumination No. 38: Dining in with Takeaway

I’m assuming that you, dear reader, have visited restaurants and cafés before. You know the drill: you walk in, find a seat, order some food and/or drinks and then consume your chosen items around the table. If you’re with friends or family, then you may even engage in some enjoyable banter.

Natasha and I went out for breakfast to one of our favourite cafés in Audley, which is in Royal National Park, north of Wollongong. We followed the general process that I outlined above and were enjoying some delicious pancakes for breakfast. We observed something at a nearby table, however, which did not gel with the natural order of things…

Another young couple had walked into the café, placed an order at the counter, then sat down at a table for a few minutes. Rather than receiving food at their table, their order was called and they went to retrieve two takeaway coffees. ‘Ahhh…’, you must be thinking, ‘They were just waiting to receive their takeaway coffees before venturing out again’. Incorrect—they sat back down at the same table with their paper coffee cups.

I have two major issues with this. First of all, the café offers ceramic cups for indoor consumption of hot beverages. Why on Earth did these people think that it was appropriate to use disposable resources that can’t be recycled entirely (such cups are laminated), when a reusable alternative was present and much more appropriate for the dine-in context?

Second, this couple sat at a table and benches that could comfortably fit six people and for a good deal of time, they just stared at their phones.

This is a perfect (yet all too common and mundane) example of the arrogant, self-centred behaviour that is prevalent in modern society. It’s similar to waiting until the last few metres of an ending freeway lane to merge into the next one, leaving unwanted grocery items in the wrong aisle, tossing a cigarette in the street or stopping in the middle of a busy pathway to take a selfie. Why is it so hard for people to be considerate of others and the environment around themselves?

Let’s be frank: it’s just easier to sit down, block out the real world and monitor your likes on Instagram.

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