Before The Mobile Phone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
It wasn't always quite so simple to stay in touch.

Submitted: July 08, 2017

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Submitted: July 08, 2017

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Before The Mobile Phone

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, people did not have phones that they could carry in their pockets. They did not have phones that they could take out and make contact with number after number without having to memorize them or to write them down. And of course they would need to ensure they had some change in their pockets in case some sort of emergency should occur.

These were the days of the telephone box, phone booth, whatever you’d like to call it. They used to make a pretty much regular appearance on any street. There were always plenty to be found. The tricky part was to find one that housed a working phone.

There was nothing like the smell of a public phone box. Even with broken windows they always seemed to manage to hang on to that stale and rancid smell. And the aroma was never ever pleasant, no aftertones of perfume here. No, the scent that would assault your nostrils would be a mix of urine, vomit, and stale cigarettes.

For some reason these phone boxes always seemed to attract vandalism. Certain groups of people seemed to gain a considerable amount of satisfaction from taking a working phone and turning it into an unresponsive piece of plastic. Mouthpieces would be removed, or maybe the ear-piece, so even if there was a connection you would be unable to either hear or speak. So say, for instance, you’d missed a bus and needed someone to come and pick you up – by the time you’d located a working phone you could well be half-way home! Phone-seeking could be a good form of exercise!

Perhaps you needed to sort out something with a mate, organize a date with your boy/girl friend, or just wanted to chat. They’d need to be at the end of a phone at a suitable time, especially if you were out. An exercise in logistics, finding a working phone at the correct time. And don’t forget, often someone else will be using that phone and you’ll have to wait as they chatter on and on and on......

The pips.....a sound you’d soon get used to hearing, especially if you were phoning someone out of your immediate area. Or if you had a lot to say, wanted to keep that conversation going. Once your money started running low you would need to have those coins ready to feed into those slots. Some coins just never seemed to work so it was always an idea to have a good supply. You’d have a couple of seconds to get that money accepted before the call ended, the line disconnected and you’d have to start all over again.

No one would claim that mobile phones are not without their problems. But as far as providing opportunities to communicate, they really can’t be beaten. So long as you keep an eye on your credit and your battery meter you can keep in touch. But watch for that ‘No Service’ icon when you enter a signal black spot!


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