This is an ode to the phone booth, long gone and probably forgotten. It is a little rectangular room with glass on all sides. It closes like an accordion. You grip the handle and pull the door shut and, when you do that, you shut out the noise of the world. And the world can’t hear you, either. The deluxe models have seats attached to the frame. You sit on the seat and deposit your nickels, dimes and quarters and you hear that popping sound when the phone accepts the coins and then you dial and speak into that big heavy phone.
Every gas station had a phone booth. Grand Central Station had rows of phone booths.
Bill and Ted time-traveled in a phone booth and so did Dr. Who.
I love an old-style phone booth. They are gone now because of cell phones, which are good in their way and bad in their way.
I have been in a million airport boarding areas the past few months, been in them because I was covering the Warriors. In the waiting areas, I saw and heard people on their cell phones. I heard more than I needed to hear. I heard nothing interesting. Just the humdrum business of life.
I found out she was ticked at her boss because he said she should know the case law and she said she did know the case law, but he didn’t believe her and now she had to look for a new job.
I found out he had “over-reached” in that negotiation. That’s what his boss told him. Over-reaching isn’t necessarily bad the boss said. It shows desire. But the deal went to hell and the boss was giving him only one more chance.
I found out the product hadn’t arrived. The guy on the cell phone sitting right next to me with that Blue Tooth thing in his ear was telling the entire waiting area the product had not arrived and what was he supposed to do? How could he do business with no product? He phoned Tammy to work it out but she wasn’t at her desk. She was supposed to be at her desk. Where the hell was Tammy? Tammy was in for it.
I felt bad for Tammy.
I found out she loved him and wanted to cook dinner for him but was stuck in the airport. She made kissing noises into her cell phone.
In a world with phone booths I would have been spared all this. Phone booths established boundarires between people. The right kind of boundarirs. You keep your business to yourself and I’ll do the same. I object to a world in which your life merges into mine and mine into yours. I want boundaries. I want merging only when you and I agree to it. I don’t want forced merging. I want privacy. I want you to have privacy. I want Tammy to have privacy.
The world lost something when it lost the phone booth.