Requiem For A Phone Booth
A few days ago I was out running some errands and suddenly I had a question about something that, while not “uber important”, I could have used an answer a hell of a lot quicker than I got one. The reason for the delay? I couldn’t find a public phone.
“Don’t you have a cell phone?” you ask? Come to think of it, yes, I do. It’s sitting on a shelf where I put it when the last batch of minutes I bought for it expired without me having used even ten percent of them.
I have to explain something. While I admit to being something of a technology junkie and because of that I wanted a cell phone for years, I don’t use telephones very much at all and certainly not enough to justify paying for a cell phone contract. For a while I tried one of those Cingular “go phone” pay as you go deals but even then, I did not use the minutes nearly fast enough. If I had continued buying minutes often enough to keep the phone active I would very likely have accumulated over $300 in air time by now. Air time that I might *NEVER* use all of. Therefore I let it lapse, turned it off and put it away.
I think telephones are a great convenience. However I hate a lot of what they represent and make possible. I hate having one ring when I sit down to dinner, only to find out it’s some stupid robot calling me to yammer on about some politician that I have probably never heard of and would not vote for if I had. I hate having a collection agency call for the 950th time looking for the people who had my number before I did because they just won’t accept that I am not them. I hate getting trapped on a call when the other party won’t recognize the fact that I want to get off of the thing. I hate trying to understand foreigners with thick, indecipherable accents when I call nearly any companies tech support these days and most of all, I absolutely HATE talking on them.
In spite of all that, there are times when I need to give in and make a (hopefully) brief call to get or pass on some needed information. The problem is that because of how little I use one, there is no point in me paying to keep a cell phone active, this means that I need to keep track of where the few remaining public phones are.
And make no mistake about it, they are very much a dying breed. I for one will miss them when they are finally gone. It’s bad enough that the classic walk-in phone booth was killed off over 30 years ago, now the public phone itself is an endangered species.
Seriously, I DARE ANYONE to give me one good reason why I should shell out $15 a month to buy minutes for a phone when I *might* use it for a total of five or ten minutes in that month. Frankly, I don’t think you can do it.
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