Wonder: What Happened To The Telephone?
It seems like an object from a era that I can barely conjure in my memory. The home telephone: hands-free or attached by a curly-wurly cord. The sole item that transported delicious secrets from friend to friend, a lifeline that I would use immediately after school to chat away to my school mates for hours, dissecting everything that had gone on that day even though we had already spent nearly nine hours together. Before Facebook and Twitter – even before things such as Bebo and Myspace, the telephone was the way to stay connected. And it was far more real and brought about a feeling of ‘togetherness’ that you just don’t get typing words onto a computer screen.
Sadly, I haven’t used my home phone in years. Quite literally, years. And it’s funny, because when I was younger and the phone was my only source of staying ‘connected’ with my friends after the nuisance that was school, it was something of a challenge to be able to use it and stay on it for any solid length of time. This was because my Dad detested my use of the telephone. Don’t ask me why, but he had this irrational fear that his phone bill was going to be sky high every month and so he would just not tolerate my use of it…even if my friend had called me as I so often argued with him. So, let me paint a picture for you. I would be upstairs giggling and gossiping with one of my girlfriends and, damn it, I had forgotten to check the time. It was 7.30pm: Dad was home and he had noticed the telephone missing from it’s cradle. Blissfully unaware, I would carry on my chat until the bellowing countdown would begin. This ‘countdown’ would be my Dad, shouting “FIVE…FOUR…THREE…TWO…” as he reached “ONE” and pulled the telephone cable out of the wall. As he counted, I would be screaming “NO DAD NO!! SHE CALLED ME! PLEASE! FIVE MORE MINUTES….” and then: beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
It was the source of so many of our arguments. Sometimes it even led to tears. And now, the telephone is like an antique, almost. Something we ‘used’ to use. I know telephones are still used in offices, of course, I just mean the use of them in homes. At one time, it was such a marvel to have something as wonderful as the phone in a home – and now I don’t really chat to people over it anymore. I text, I tweet, I send Facebook comments. I’m meant to be more ‘connected’ than ever – heck, I have over 300 ‘friends’ on FB, but in reality I’m less connected than ever. The only real ‘chats’ I have are in person, which I suppose is a good thing, but there’s nothing like a good telephone gossip with a relative or friend who lives hundreds and hundreds of miles away. And now, partly due to cost I suppose, email just seems so much easier. At least we have Skype – and that is wonderful, we verbally speak and we can see each other, however I don’t really use that as often as I should. I suppose because like a telephone call, you need to schedule it, and these days none of us have the time – do we?
I dont know about you, maybe you do manage to have lovely telephone conversations still and it’s just me. But I realised today that I miss the inane chats I used to have with friends after school, it was such fun — even with the crazy counting man that would inevitably chime in at some point. Even today, my friends don’t ring me on the house phone, they ring me on my mobile. So, even if I do manage to have a telephone chat, it’s via my mobile. Now that I’ve rambled on and on, I fear I dont have a point — but I suppose my point is that I think that one day we will lose the need for the good old fashioned house phone. And that makes me sad.