Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pay Phones


I was recently parked outside of a building that had a public telephone in prominent display. There was a woman talking on the pay phone and she was in tears. Not fifteen feet away there was a man leaning his back against the building talking on his cell phone. He was smiling and laughing.

I thought about this scene, and it occurred to me that that most of the time I see people talking on their cell phones they are smiling and happy and most of the times I’ve seen people on pay phones they are sad and sometimes crying.

Thinking back to the time before cell phones, the only time I ever used a pay phone was when I was very sad, remorseful, or badly needed someone’s assistance. It was when I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been and needed to get away from as quickly as possible, or when I urgently needed to apologize to someone and it couldn’t wait until I got home.

Pay phones were not casual things like cell phones. They required a commitment and a pound of flesh. Before phone cards, one actually had to use a coin from your pocket that was warmed by their skin inside their pant leg. Your communication time was limited. When the time ran out you had to add more money or risk losing the connection. The connection was tenuous at best.

Maybe cell phone users are happier because they have forty-plus dollars of disposable lucre they can part with every month just so they can say hi while they drive and menace other drivers and pedestrians with their lack of concentration. Maybe the pay phone users are sad because they are tethered by a two-foot metallic cord, and they have to constantly be aware of the time and financial constraints.

As for myself, I have no reason to call anyone. I am neither happy nor sad about it.

7 Comments:

Blogger Boo7 said...

makes me think of the song....oh the times they are a changing!!! Technology has in so many ways been a blessing....but in other ways I'm not so sure. LOL there is my deep thought for the day!!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Ironically, I think cell phones are aiding a disconnectedness in our society. People are less and less in touch with what's going on right around them. Instead of striking up a conversation with a stranger they're gabbing with someone on the phone, or ignoring one person while talking to another on the phone.

This is what many of the few remaining pay phones look like around here:
http://flickr.com/photos/richpix/214903140/

2:33 PM  
Anonymous portosan said...

Geez, rich, you are right. Keen insight right there.

Thanks for the deep thought boo.

I have been thinking of getting a cel phone again but at the same time I like to be different by not having one.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Bla, bla, bla....
My C.B. radio works as good today as ever.
:-Q

9:59 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Gearhead, I would have made you out to be a ham ; )

I agree, Boo7 and Rich. They are this strange appendage that hang off us like something sucking out blood. I'm glad that I don't have to use phones very often.

4:51 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Unfortunately blogger will not upload my posts today. I think I will need to upgrade to their beta version as soon as I get a chance.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Thartill said...

Unfortunately blogger will not upload my posts today. I think I will need to upgrade to their beta version as soon as I get a chance.

Kick em to the curb!

11:42 AM  

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