I used to like telephones

July 24, 2018


I used to like telephones when:

They were black and weighty and solid and sat securely on tables or hung on walls.


And they had rotary dials that made a reassuring whirring sound as the dial returned to zero after you dialed each number.



Or they were cute oval shapes of pink and white or aqua, with a light up dial, that sat on your small night table on top of the doily thing and you could sneak a call in the dark.





I used to like the telephone when:

It had a rotary dial that made a reassuring whirring sound as the dial returned to zero after you dialed each number.


Telephones even had a smell to them, not a bad smell, but maybe the wire or the hard vinyly plastic of the receiver;they were heavy, meaningful, in your hand. They gave your words importance. 


There were telephone tables and telephone chairs, or long coiling cords on wall phones that your Mother stretched out to reach the pot that was boiling over while the kids tried to play jump rope with it.


There were telephone books, useful for propping up kids at the dinner table, and telephone men who came to your house and into your kitchen to repair your phone. And you weren’t afraid to let them in.


I used to like the telephone because:

When the phone rang, you answered it…or you didn’t. 

If you answered it, you knew the person who was calling; they weren’t strangers trying to sell you something.

If you didn’t answer it…they called back another time.

Your friends didn’t call you during the day and leave a message, knowing you weren’t home.

You didn’t come home and walk to a blinking light and “check your messages”

(or be disappointed when there was no blinking light)


I used to like the telephone because:

When you were speaking with someone, they never said:

Hold on a minute, then put you into a sound vacuum while they talked to another caller. 

They didn’t say I’m losing you

They didn’t say can you hear me now?

They didn’t say I’m putting you on speaker phone, so I can use my hands for something else.

They weren’t in a grocery store talking to a cashier

They weren’t in a bar or club, screaming their response or yelling can you speak louder?

They weren’t driving in their car

They weren’t taking a leak and telling you about it.


I miss real phones.



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