Where Y’Eat: At Crawfish Boils, Cell Phone Fixation Finally Takes a Breather

May 17, 2018

Crawfish give us so much. Good flavor, an excuse to gather, a chance to bask in the seasonal food glories of south Louisiana. Well, I’m adding one more blessing to the pile – a crawfish boil creates a temporary sanctuary from the cell phone.

It’s a practical matter. Eating at a crawfish boil is a two-fisted effort of twisting and peeling, sorting and rummaging and juggling beverages.  

When you get into the spice-stained thick of it, our crawfish compulsion and our cell phone fixation are simply incompatible.

That means the boil is a breather from constant connectivity.  It seems wherever else you look, it’s heads bent and phones out. I’m no one to wag a critical finger here. Mine are busy pecking away just like everyone else.

But next time boiled crawfish hits the table, look what happens. Hands are busy, people are socializing face to face, the world contracts to a table of good food, friends just across it, an ice chest within easy reach.

Phones stay in pockets and purses. So what if they beep and buzz? Is it worth breaking the ritualistic rhythm of peel-and-eat-and-sip? Would you rather check that text or keep your spot at the table, and your angle on that seam of boiled mushrooms you just uncovered? 

Maybe it’s urgent. But you know perfectly well it’s just some question that can wait, an email you don’t need, or an alert about breaking news that has absolutely nothing to do with crawfish.

Eventually, the crawfish will run out, or your fingers will finally pucker. It’s time to wash up. And that’s it, the spell is broken, and all those notifications on your screen are still there. But while it lasts, what a valuable perspective we get from the humble mudbug.

As technology seeps deeper into our lives, there’s a cottage industry of advice out there on how to be more present, more mindful. You can even look up solutions on your phone. Or, you can just go to a Louisiana crawfish boil, start eating and realize that the answer is in your hands.