I had waded slowly along the beach, waiting for a chance to cast at a swirling salmon. I approached another fellow who seemed to be staying in one spot. I kept a respectful distance and watched for fish and, of course, I avoided eye contact, respecting his privacy.
And then “Hello.”
“Hello,” I said, keeping my eye on the water.
“What’s up?” he said.
“Not any fish that’s for sure,” I said, smiling at my witty reply.
“Dinner?” he queried. “Tonight?”
That got my attention and I turned to look at him. He had his cell phone pressed to his chest and a very irritated look on his face. “Seriously?” he hissed at me. And after a pause and a quick, irritated nod of his head, he continued talking to who I’m pretty sure was his girl friend.
At first I was embarrassed. Then I was somewhat upset that he thought I had disturbed his peace. I think the reverse was true. But such is living these days, modern conveniences intrude into every aspect of life, even fishing.
And it’s alarming just how attached some people are to their devices. Actually, addicted.
On aonther occasion I travelled to a river on north Vancouver Island with a good friend. We geared up and were ready to head down the trail when he said, “Just a second,” and pulled out his cell phone. I knew, but didn’t say anything. He put the phone to his ear and soon realized something was wrong.
“You can’t get a signal from here,” I said.
“Really?” he replied like it was some kind of joke and frantically started pressing buttons on his phone. He looked at it and pressed it to his ear once again. Nothing. “This is so lame,” he almost spit.
I asked if it was a call or text he had to make for work.
Calling or texting his wife to tell her we made it safely? (It had been snowing.)
I didn’t want to pry, but I did. With whom was he trying to get in touch?
His face went blank for a second. He looked down to the phone and then up to me. “I just wanted to check my messages,” he said.
“Important messages from work or family?” I asked.
He shut the phone down, opened his truck door and tucked it away into the console. “Let’s go,” he said, getting back into the mood.
“Well aren’t you going to bring your phone?” I asked.
“What’s the point of that?” he asked.
I told him that while he couldn’t get a signal from our current location, he would be able to get one once we got down to the river and fished through a couple of pools. Something strange to do with the mountains and satellite angle, I said.
“You goof!” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me that? What a kidder you are.”
He retrieved his cell phone, tucked it in his waders and off we went. We were both content; him actually believing he would get a signal down by the river and me comfortable in the knowledge that he would have something with which to take a picture of me and a nice steelhead.