Janet Christie's Mum's the Word - put away the phone and wake up and smell the coffee

Give yourself a break and dump digital for daylight and dopamine once in a while
Mum's the Word. Pic: AdobeMum's the Word. Pic: Adobe
Mum's the Word. Pic: Adobe

Sitting outside a cafe after an early outdoor exercise class in a park, drinking the coffee that is our reward, one of our gathered crew is telling a story as the summer’s end humidity sputters into early autumn rain, and another says, ‘I should have brought my… my… what’s it called? A rain jacket thing?”

“Poncho?” says someone. But the hordes of tourists wearing yellow plastic shrouds and bobbing along the streets in silent discos looking like ‘A host of golden daffodils fluttering and dancing in the breeze’ are no more. Summer’s over.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“No, a jacket with sleeves,” she says and continues as the rain clouds gather: “God, I can’t think of the word….you will tell me if you think I’ve got signs of dementia?”

We all know people who do have dementia or Alzheimer’s, but this isn’t that. Her difficulty is common among all ages, with even young ‘uns struggling to find the words and my own theory is it’s down to overload in a world where information bombards us in a never ending stream. The brain can only process so much at once.

Incapable of being separated from our screens for even a moment, we’re addicted to constantly checking and re-checking, refreshing, and reading to the point of overwhelm. Overstimulated, our concentration’s shot, fatigued, like elastic that can’t spring back.

But this group have stashed their screens in bags and pockets for an exercise class that requires concentration (otherwise you’ll dance into a tree) and high on the daylight and dopamine, we’ve been chatting so much we haven’t retrieved them.

“Cagoule?” says one.

“Anorak?” says another.

“Parka?” suggests a third.

“Cagoule, that’s it,” says the original word-seeker.

“Never heard of it,” says someone. And it’s only then that a phone is rummaged from a rucksack to prove there is such a thing.

“From the French. And anorak and parka are Inuit,” says the Google checker, then puts away the phone.

Which is when it hits me what I like about this crew. They can hold a conversation without constantly falling silent to check their socials, TikTok and feeds on the screen in front of them, maintain eye contact and interact for more than five seconds at a time.

I love a dancing cat as much as the next person, but sometimes you have to put away the screen, wake up and just smell the coffee.