Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Relic Revisited

It was a dark and rainy night, in a city that's very weird, and people were in their homes avoiding the downpour. But one very silly girl was out walking home in the rain, that silly girl was me. As I was walking, suddenly I noticed something peculiar and worth my attention. I stopped and starred. There, in a dark corner, was a man standing outside a building fiddling with a machine--an old contraption--a relic of the past, you might say, covered in cobwebs probably. I hadn't taken notice of one of these machines for years and there existence brought me back to bygone days. I continued to unabashedly stare at him in puzzlement.

The machine in question is...the pay phone.

They sit waiting to be used in the strangest places and some of the most obvious too. They're outside grocery stores, on the corner of a busy street, in airports and inside universities. But nobody notices them, much less actually uses them.

And, as I must have stood starring at this young man engaging in his use of the pay phone for about two minutes in amazement and wonder.

I almost had an inclination to throw away my cell phone and find my own pay phone. It just looked so fun.

These days, we don't have the excitement of finding a pay phone, and waiting in line to use it while the guy in front of us says to his girlfriend "please take me back baby. I love ya kid, ya know that doncha?" And we stand there awkwardly listening to intimate conversations, but we don't want to lose our spot in the pay phone line so we're stuck there, being a third wheel...and then the guy puts in another quarter and we think, "Ugh, I just need to call my mom to get a ride home!" Nope, none of that these days as we have the convenience of a phone safely in our pockets or bag. And if we don't have a phone, chances are our friends have a mobile phone we may use.

I have to say, it's all very unsurprising and unadventurous to have mobile phones. It's been years since I heard someone say to me "Hey, got a quarter? I need to make a call." Nor have I received a phone call that begins with "Will you accept a collect call from: 'Barack Obama.'"

But, I gotta say, having a mobile phone is super convenient, but really, there is no adventure or excitement in it. It's all very predictable.

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