Photo: Matthew Hauer

Clara Caufield: Are gadgets now more important than people?

Thank goodness, spring has sprung and here in Montana and Wyoming, people are gradually getting sprung from the confines of quarantine and self-imposed social distancing and isolation.

To celebrate, three of my near-geriatric friends (all in our sixties) and I decided to ‘go to lunch.” That means troweling on the make-up; flat-ironing or curling your hair; digging out some sandals; maybe a flirty little skirt and tank top, etc.

We settled on a fancy joint; you know the kind complete with an outdoor patio, adorned by flowers, a little table with an umbrella; a menu of ‘up-scale’ expensive entrees and cold frosty drinks, complete with cutesy decorations and lots of citrus. The servers are always attentive and nice because a healthy tip is required if you ever want to be seated there again in a timely manner.

Clara Caufield

Posted by NILE Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters Cattle Drive & Parade on Friday, September 13, 2013
NILE Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters Cattle Drive & Parade on Facebook: Clara Caufield

Quite the splurge, but darn it we’d earned it. (I brought half of my spendy sandwich home which will last a day or so.)

I looked forward to leisurely, giggly conversation hashing over the antics of children, grandchildren and complaining about these old fat guys which now seem to our lot. Sure, we’d kept one another updated during the quarantine, but not enough.

That did not happen. All the girls, except me (widely viewed as a techno dinosaur) came armed with their cell phones. Two even had tablets in their purses.

My three old buddies immediately glued their noses into their cell phones. There must be a super magnet in those gadgets which are impossible to resist or escape. They spent the entire luncheon delighting themselves with cute cyber discoveries, even irritated when the server interrupted to take our orders.

“OH! I’ll forward this to you,” they often said to one another. Since my café chair did not have cell phone reception, I was the ‘fifth tire’, the ‘odd-man out’, etc., totally bored.

Once or twice, they let me peek at something, but feeling desperate without the cell phone safely in hand, quickly jerked it back. “Don’t accidentally touch any buttons,” I was warned.


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Clara Caufield can be reached at

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