A cell phone rings in the busy meeting room. People constantly arguing or agreeing with each other stop and search frantically to find the insistent phone. Finally, someone answers and disappears from the room. Another phone vibrates on the large polished-wood conference table, resonating and quietly demanding to be answered.

After a while, no one is listening to the keynote speaker and everyone is talking to everyone else, somewhere on the other end of a wireless device. A few iPads show up using FaceTime and notes are emailed to each other instantly. Overall, the number of cell phones, smart phones are tallied and it is discovered that everyone either has a Blackberry or an iPhone.

A few diehards who still use the old-style phones with a skimpy little screen proudly tell everyone else, that no matter where they are, their cell still works.

A gentle argument ensues about which technological wonder is better, the iPhone or Blackberry. The argument remains undecided, as fanatic tech-heads will never give up on an argument. Eventually, however, the smart phones take over again and no one wins.

My phone tingles through my shirt pocket and I leave the room, joining others who are tucked away in corners and any other private area. One conversation I overhear sounds like a shopping list for Walmart, the other conversation sounds like some sort of crisis management for the staff who are left behind. My call was about shopping for items that I couldn’t buy back home and I quickly re-enter the meeting room. During the health break, the conversation brings up the current situation with our communications systems in the communities.

It turns out that we all have different systems and nothing is well integrated. Even in the new age of communications, wireless technologies and the Internet, we are still not connected by a common system.

The arguments are sparked again; 3G or 4G, which is better? I retort that 3G or 4G really means three or four hundred dollars a month and my little old CDMA phone works everywhere in the country except for Thunder Bay, which chose to use Rogers wireless (which isn’t compatible with anyone as far as I am concerned).

This argument turns in my favour, until someone asks me if I can receive emails. I answer that emails have a purpose but who wants to break one’s neck and get eyestrain trying to read a long email letter on a two-inch screen.

I didn’t want to bring up texting, which is now right up there as more dangerous than driving under the influence. When you’re too inebriated to handle a vehicle, it’s pretty sure that you can’t operate a tiny keyboard. So the law should be changed to include texting while driving under the influence – a conviction on which would bring a sentence of life imprisonment. Imagine, the defence lawyer would throw out your request to represent you in court, because what could be more dangerous and life threatening?

Anyways, the argument has now been upgraded to a technological war, with the Blackberry army slightly behind because of shareholders leaving and coming back. The latest iPhone, to my eyes, it looks just like the old iPhone and the battery doesn’t last as long.

Meanwhile, my little single purpose phone still works like a charm and serves the purpose for which it was designed. In my mind (which in some ways works differently than other minds), I just don’t see the purpose of communicating large documents, or even (blasphemy, I know) being able to Facebook 24-7.

As a human being, I simply cannot keep up with technology. The new toys on the market will tout the advantages of instant messaging but how does one keep up with the constant demands?

The nice thing about all of this is the fact that they have an off button. So people, switch off once in a while, look me in the eyes and talk to me face to face.