THE PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS is well named - don’t get on the wrong side of it.

Experiencing life through the small screen

Everything we witness these days is viewed by looking at an LCD screen as we record the images for posterity.

I could write this week about the ongoing teachers’ strike, or the approval for the Northern Gateway pipeline announced today, but issues like that always require a little time and distance to put together a logical response.

There’s been something on my mind for a long time now, and events of the past two weeks have brought it to the foreground again. That’s the multitude of recording devices at events these days. You have to see it to believe it!

Young people view the world on an LCD screen, even when it’s happening less than 50 feet away from them.

It’s nothing new. I’ve noticed it at Graffiti Days for the past two or three years – the Smoke Show starts up and one out of four spectators (might be one out of three this year) holds up their hand-held to take videos – either to keep as a memento, but probably to send to friends or post to social media sites. It’s reached the rodeo.

Last weekend, people were staring at their screens when there was nothing happening, and staring at their screens while recording the action when there was something happening.

It used to be cameras, and since cameras were pricey, very few people had them. And while personal phones are still pricey, people have more spending cash, and they’ve become a status symbol.

I recall years ago, driving along Hwy 27 with my visiting parents. Hwy 27 stretches between Charlie Lake, just north of Fort St. John, and Chetwynd. In the middle, somewhere, there’s Hudson’s Hope and a whole lot of nothing but wilderness. Or that’s how it was 20 years ago.

We stopped the car to let a beaver walk across the highway. It was dragging a branch about four times its size to the wetlands on the other side, presumably where his home was.

We had a good laugh while it struggled across the road bearing its burden. As my husband started the car, my mother exclaimed that she should have been taking pictures! I thought of it, but sometimes, it’s just nice to relax and watch without a digital interface.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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