I’m 23 years old. I live in Boston’s South End. And I’m sitting in a Spanish restaurant.
Me and a group of four other friends are here for her birthday party. She is 21, and she’s from Spain — and that’s how we ended up here.
The restaurant was written about in BostInno magazine a few years back for having great food and for being a hip place to be. On the wall in the bathroom is a profile of the two chefs — they have lumberjack beards, tattooed arms, and their facial expressions make it look like they have some place more important to be.
Recently, this restaurant opened up a new branch about a half-mile away. It serves Spanish food too — pretty much the same food — just trendier.
There was a certain disappointment that lingered in the air of our restaurant, as if the kitchen staff were aware of an ex-lover — an ex-lover who had moved on to someone else who was cooler, hotter and younger then they were.
After drinks, we headed to the new restaurant down the street. It was loud, expensive and crowded. I looked at my friend sitting across from me and thought about conversation, but the sound waves in the room were bouncing off the brick walls and filling it with a million echoes.
I thought back to the first restaurant. It was cheaper, the food was better, and I could have a conversation. I thought about what we lost by deciding to come here. There was no way the people around me could be having enough fun to justify the environment.
When you go to a trendy bar, you wait in line and then go into a dark, crowded place, because once you’re in, you share a bond with everyone else who waited in line with you like animals being led to the factory.
But in the trendy restaurant, the gratification is different. And it takes place far away from the present moment. It’s being able to show people you went there. It’s some Instagram likes a few hours later and a geotag. The photo has replaced our experience. Our simulation of the event has become more important than the event itself.
This is one way in which social media has slowly permeated in our lives. Maybe even more harmful then the effects that it has on our social skills is how it changes the way we experience life. We have forgotten what made going out fun: drinks, talking with friends, and laughter. Now, it’s just another opportunity to shape our identity online.
Social media has made everyone a celebrity. We shouldn’t forget what made something fun in the first place. .
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