I was walking my dog in San Marco, but she couldn’t handle the heat. We took a seat on a bench. My dog, Nola, caught her breath in the shade while I watched people walking around San Marco square.

A couple walked in stride – side by side – but instead of holding hands and talking, they were both staring down at their phones. I saw a mother herding little kids into the movie theater. All the kids were more occupied with games on their iPads than following their mom into the theater.

I peeked through the Starbucks window. Back in the day, coffee was a great excuse for conversation. Now it’s a ticket for free wifi. The place was crowded with people hunched over their laptops.

I reached for my phone. I can connect with thousands of people through a handful of apps, but I spend such little time genuinely connecting with people around me.

This can’t be healthy. We need to embrace technology’s ability to enhance relationships rather than replace them.

For centuries, and across cultures, humans have congregated and connected over food and drink. Why don’t we leverage technology to return to the dinner table?

I believe Jacksonville is a more diverse and talented community than people realize, and I believe a lot our issues can be resolved by connecting and building relationships across neighborhoods, lifestyles and cultures.

The solution? Dinner Party List. Let’s take advantage of the budding culinary talent in town. Let’s connect in a unique setting. Let’s have real conversations with real people and cultivate real relationships. What do you say? Will you join us?


Meet new friends. Eat good food. Drink tasty drinks. And connect with Jacksonville.

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