Calling out phone use

Brenda is getting used to phones treated like an appendage, but she doesn’t have to like it.

Brenda Mallory

Are we losing something?

I come to this question after having a pleasant coffee gathering with friends in a Smithers cafe. My small group of older folks had a lively conversation. Face to face as it happens. Down the way from our group was a gathering of younger people. Each person had one of those phone things that would be stared at the whole time. Every once in awhile someone would show another what they had. I actually started to think they were sending a message to another person at the table. You think?

I know those phones are a sign of the times but for the life of me I am not sure how human contact will be in years to come.

I walked the dogs today taking time to think of all the interesting people I have met many years ago. I recall going to the Red Bird Cafe in Port Alberni. I would go with my dad. I would have milk, he would have coffee and of course a big hunk of homemade pie would be in order. Before we would leave my Dad would break into song singing O Come, All Ye Faithful. He needed to do a couple more haircuts in his shop.

During my time living in Vancouver during the ‘60s, a gathering of folks for coffee in a hippy area in a few blocks near UBC was a good experience. Saturday morning would bring a variety of students to a booth. Discussions would be about politics, books and where to buy pot. We would always get a kick out of the pie under the plastic dome cover. We were sure the same piece of pie had been there for a long time. Probably not.

Many years later Al and I moved to Atlin. Coffee time was at the Pine Creek Cafe. Mining of course was a big topic. Back then I had started to broadcast for CBC out of Whitehorse. I remember an old sourdough saying, “At least we can shut off the radio.” I guess that was kind of funny. It wasn’t a text message, but a face to face comment.

How have the topics changed after all those years? Now our smattering of different aged people begin the conversation with the weather, road conditions, dogs, wild critters, money, politics, grandchildren, doctor appointments, blood tests, etc. If anyone has died we cover that as well. This again is a face to face conversation. Kind of like human contact. None of us have to check our phone or look up something. We just have a friendly conversation, drink our coffee, then shuffle away until we meet again. Unique isn’t it?

I know I will have to get used to this time in my life when many use the phone like a third appendage. It doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I know about now you have an opinion dealing with this week’s topic. Give me a call at 250-846-5095 or just email to

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