Don Kavanagh is the editor of Hospitality magazine.

Don Kavanagh: Out of touch


'Are you talkin' to me?' Don Kavanagh asks why cellphone junkies hang out in bars.

Pubs are places where people mingle and chat. If you want to be alone with your phone, stay home. Photo / Thinkstock
Pubs are places where people mingle and chat. If you want to be alone with your phone, stay home. Photo / Thinkstock

It's time to whinge again.

I was in a bar recently, minding my own business, talking to the bartender and enjoying a range of fine beverages. I got into conversation with a gentleman next to me and we were having a good yarn about a range of topics when his phone rang.

He immediately turned away from me and began bellowing into his smartphone to whomever was on the other end. I can't remember exactly how the conversation went, but I'm pretty sure it consisted almost entirely of both parties crowing loudly about what a rascal the other was.

This annoyed me for several reasons: partly because anyone who is described by a friend as being "totally mental, you're just mad, mate" invariably isn't and often, in fact, is such a complete dullard you have to feign serious illness to avoid getting stuck in conversation with him or her.

But also there was the simple fact that I was chatting in a bar with someone who immediately ignored me when the phone rang.

It wasn't normal business hours and it certainly wasn't an emergency (unless his mate really, really needed to hear how mental and great he was) so, for the life of me I couldn't understand why he'd bothered answering it.

Fair enough. I know that the generations younger than mine are obsessed with being "in touch" every minute, but if I ever discover a bar that bans mobile phones I'll be ordering a beer before the paint is dry on the walls.

I can understand short conversations to ascertain where people are and when they will be arriving, but I've seen people blethering on their phone for more than 10 minutes at a time, while sitting in a bar. Dear lord, why would you? If the bar is that dull simply leave.

I did once hear tell of a wonderful pub-phone conversation. It was surely a one-off, but deserves retelling for its sheer bravery.

A guy gets a call from his girlfriend angrily demanding to know where he is.

"You know that jewellery store where you saw that ring you liked?" he replied.

She, clearly melting with romantic imagination at this stage, answers "Yes."

"Well, I'm in the pub next door."

- Herald on Sunday

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