Why am I having anxiety about disconnecting my landline? We don’t use it! But having a landline is something that’s been a part of my life for 41 years!
What if my cellphone breaks?
Will I have to run out to the payphone?
What’s a payphone?
You know, it’s a public phone where you can put money in and make a phone call.
How much is it?
I don’t know, a dollar maybe? I remember when it was 10 cents.
Ask Marty McFly. He used a payphone in the future (2015).
I think it’s funny that times have changed so much that when Back to the Future was made, whomever stuck a phone booth in the future couldn’t fathom a world without one.
In the present, we are so freaked out by germs; if I actually found a payphone I still wouldn’t use it. I would just find a clean stranger and ask, “Can I borrow your cellphone?”
I went into a reminiscent trance and my landline life flashed before my eyes...
Back in the Past Landline Memories
Around age three (I'm guessing), and dialing a bunch of numbers (long distance) threatening to call Grammy and Pop-Pop to tell them my mom and dad were fighting. I didn’t know the phone number. There was no 911. But I am sure I told on them later.
Around age nine, moving into a new apartment where I would have a telephone in my room, Mom asked me to pick the color phone I wanted. The phone company gave you phones; you didn’t have to go to buy them. I chose yellow. Found a photo of it.
Around age 10, my friends and I would make prank calls. We couldn’t come up with anything better than, “Is your refrigerator running?” “Well you better go catch it!” Click!
Around age 11, I was on the phone all the time. Daddy would call me from work saying he had been trying to call me for hours. I would say, “I must have knocked the phone off the hook after I called mom.”
1981 - calling the fire department. There was a mishap that burned out before they got there. Ooops.
1982 - dialing 777-9311 to see if Prince would answer.
Around age 12, I started running water for the dishes, got on the phone and flooded the kitchen. I still remember the scowl on my mom’s face as I was wondering, “What?” Thank goodness we weren’t in an apartment anymore. But the bugs and spiders in the crawl space probably had to find a new home. Ooops.
Around age 13, when we finally got call waiting, I would click over and daddy could tell I was on the phone. I learned if I hung up the phone when a call was coming through it didn’t sound like a click over. When I picked up, I told daddy I was “doing homework”.
Age 14, if there was such a thing as carpal tunnel in the neck ...
Around age 15, my parents had a phone in their room that beeped if another extension was picked up. If I unplugged my phone and plugged it back in with the receiver not connected, they wouldn’t hear the beep. I would turn on my television so they wouldn’t hear my voice through the floor.
Around age 16, I asked for a cordless phone for Christmas so I could walk to the park across the street and talk. I got one. It was the size of a size 9 shoe, and it didn’t work like that.
Talking to a real operator to make a collect call.
Accepting collect calls from a boy I met in Daytona, not knowing it was that expensive. Ooops.
Around age 17, I was a freshman in college and I had to use a payphone. When I was homesick and felt like I was going to cry, I wanted privacy. I went to the library (nobody was there) to call my mom.
Around age 19 and living back at home, I got my own phone/number. It was my first bill.
Around age 24, I answered my husband’s (then boyfriend) landline at a time that was too early for me to be there. (It was his Mother). There was no caller ID. He wasn’t there. She wondered why I was. Ooops
Around age 27, I memorized the seemingly 50 numbers we needed to make a state side call.
Around age 28, we had our first computer with internet. Every time the phone rang, the computer rebooted.
So our first introduction to Caller ID was in May of 2000 when we returned to the States after living overseas. I was 29 years old.
At this time younger generations were embracing the new millennium and would not have a landline when they moved away from home. They would make calls from their cellphones after 9pm and budget 250 cellular minutes per month.
My husband and I would continue to pay a monthly telephone bill with all the bells and whistles just to look at the caller ID and say, “It’s for you.”
We haven’t been answering the landline for almost 12 years.
Here's the thing...I am 41 years old and my daddy is still going to be mad about what he found out here today. So his prayer for payback may not be answered, I don't plan to leave Christopher at home alone EVER.
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