Tuesday July 29, 2014





Gilchrist: Still not one of 'those people'

Our newspaper is a hot commodity, at least according to a woman I met at a potluck last month — and countless others, no doubt.

She said she loves reading the local news during her lunch break at work, flipping the pages of the hard-copy edition, never digital. She explained she is not “one of those people” that can be found glued to a smartphone,
in fact, seemed proud of not even owning a cell.

It reminded me how I used to be, but now idly wonder if I’m becoming one of “those people.”

With iPhone charged and ready, my morning routine includes scanning our paper’s digital edition before work, checking out Google News, playing a bit of online Scrabble and if I’m really dawdling, glancing at Facebook.

I haven’t strayed that far into the “those people” zone that I sleep with my smartphone and have anxiety attacks without it.

I also still frown on the kids keeping their devices within grasp during visits; after all we don’t even have cell reception at our house.

It’s a lifestyle choice, not a life essential.

I understand the lure, however . . . smartphones are just so damned convenient and many practical apps exist that make life easier.

Looking for cheap gas? No need to drive around, there’s an app for that.

Want to time your running intervals and know how far you’ve gone? Meet MapMyRun, better than a pedometer and cheaper than a watch that does the same.

Have an idle curiosity about why it’s so much colder and snowier at your house than elsewhere? (OK, people warned me about moving to Pinantan.) Check out elevation.com for confirmation that, yes, you do live atop a mountain.

Need a vacation from Old Man Winter and want to know where the best seats on an airplane are, plus what other travellers have to say about potential resorts? Apps for both of those.

I even used a flashlight app when the power went out at work this summer and I had to crawl around in the darkness under my desk to unplug computers. There’s always new apps in development, some more inane than others, like one that could assess the tone of people’s voices to evaluate their moods (who needs that when you’ve got a husband?).

The ease of technology can certainly lead us down a path toward fewer face-to-face interactions with other people. There’s no need to physically meet with friends to share your burning news; don’t need to go next door to play cards with the neighbours any more, online competitors from around the world await online.

But there are some things apps can never improve or replace — like hugs, sleep, sharing meals, feeling the hot sand under your feet, the relief of cool water on one’s skin or the brisk winter air rushing past your face while racing along on skis.  

While I might wish for an app that could do dishes, start the wood stove, provide me column ideas or rub my feet, it’s unlikely to ever transpire.

So despite how much I love the handiness of my little device, there’s no fear of going over the other side and truly being branded as “one of those people” yet.

May the hard-copy edition live on.

tgilchrist@kamloopsnews.ca


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