Sweet Nothings

Past Callings

A lovely pink phone, which is now just a paperweight

Do you remember when we used to call places instead of people? Or, how about when we picked up home telephones and said “hello” as an actual question? I’m fascinated by the way communication changes over time, and I love thinking about how it will be a dead giveaway of my vintage not too long from now whenever I admit I was alive in the age of landlines and unscreened calls.

I fondly remember the excitement that buzzed within my elementary school every year right before the all-grade phone books came out. They were simple printouts bound in card stock, but their pages were divine because they held infinite possibilities of highlighting and memorizing your crush’s phone number. Yes, we young girls were stalkers in training, but the skills we worked so hard to hone are now obsolete. Whenever you want to stalk someone now, you just pretend to be normal long enough and ask them to punch their number into your cell phone; you then sext them, Google them, friend them, and follow the heck out of ’em on Twitter until your subtlety wears off or wears them down. There’s still the occasional business card exchanged, but gone are the days of scribbling numbers onto cocktail napkins or searching for someone whose last name may or may not begin with M in the yellow pages.

Case in point: it took me two years to learn my boyfriend’s phone number, and I’ve never once written it down or drawn hearts around his area code. When phone books are delivered to my house, I either recycle them right away or donate them to the crazy lady around the corner who’s bullet-proofing her walls…That’s right, even crazy ladies don’t use phone books to look up numbers anymore. I guess this means we can now safely file rotary phones and rolodexes away under the nostalgia category, but my question for you is this: what’s next? Are there any innovations creeping along out there that you think will change the way we communicate and/or obsess over our crushes? Any intriguing social phenomena that you think are arising from the way cell phones have taken the mystery out of our daily calls? Do tell.

Image source: Pinterest.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Pat Oey December 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I happen to come from a family in which, every time the phone rang, someone said, “Tell them I’m not here!” Is it any wonder that I hate answering the phone to this day? At any rate, with the advent of the cell phone, I feel there’s no escaping anymore. When Tim and I were at Diamondhead in Hawaii and he said, “Let’s call my mother!” somehow the magic just dwindled. So now I have to purposely forget my phone if I ever want to truly be inaccessible.

  • Reply J. R. Coté December 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    You are so right about the woes of constant connectivity. There are so many business perks (not to mention plain ol’ grocery-shopping/direction-getting benefits) associated with cell phones, but it feels like this comes at a cost. I think the trick is knowing when to make ourselves solely available to the moment and our surroundings, and knowing when it’s okay to make ourselves available to the whole world of telecommunication.

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