These days public phones are a dying breed. Everywhere I look there are very few if any public phones anymore. Several places have removed public phones altogether with the exception of a few places that may still have only one when they formerly had a whole wall lined with them. Even the very few places you can still find an outdoor public phone, the booths are gone and it is an open aired drive up phone. Of course, this is because of the proliferation of cell phones these days. Just as email has killed the Post Office, cell phones have killed public phones and the income derived from them.
At this point, I must confess that with the extinction of public phones, I reluctantly and against my wishes, purchased a cellular TracPhone after I got married a few years ago. Technically speaking it isn't a regular cell phone and is not meant for everyday use. I wanted to make that very clear so no one would accuse me of being a hypocrite (at least this time.) The ONLY use I have for it is to take on long trips, and its ONLY use is in the event of an emergency while traveling. There's no monthly fee, it operates on buying time. My rationale for getting it, in spite of the fact I detest cell phones, is that my wife is handicapped and I may need to contact someone if she has any sudden physical problems during a rare long trip. The phone number is unpublished and no one else has it.
Well, as long as I'm on this expedition, yet another reason I don't like cell phones is when I'm out shopping or for that matter, anywhere in public, people's cell phones are always ringing. At least the latest cell phone fad is to have music play when a call comes in, and not that irritating electronic ring sound. I've rarely, if ever, have heard any conversations that served any useful purpose. The following is a typical example of the kinds of one-sided "important" cell phone conversations I often overhear:
Harpsichord music... Hello... Oh, hi Lyle what's up?... I'm not doing anything right now either... I don't know what I'm doing tonight... Oh, you either... I'm at Wal-Mart right now and walking down the laxative aisle... Yeah, they have all colors... Huh? Your cell phone faded and I only got 2 or 3 words... Oh, you didn't get all of my last words either... I said they have all different colors of laxatives in this aisle...No, I don't see any speckled ones... Now I'm just starting to go past the ladies underwear section... Huh?... I don't know if they still make Playtex Living Bras, how would I know, you'd have to ask my wife... Oh all right, wait a minute, I'll go back and look... I said wait a minute and I'll go back and look... I said I'll look... LOOK LOOK!... Hey Lyle, please don't tell any of the other guys at the Yugo plant that I'm looking for Playtex Living Bras!... Well, you know how Sidney is... ha ha yeah right... Hey, there's some dust on the floor... I said there's some dust on the floor... THERE'S SOME DUST ON THE FLOOR!!!!! Hello, Hello, LYLE? LYLE? Are you there? STUPID cell phones!!!!!!...... (Same guy 4.68 seconds after losing Lyle on his cell phone) Harpsichord music... Oh, hi Walter what's up?... I'm not doing anything right now either... I don't know what I'm doing tonight... Oh, you either... I'm at Wal-Mart right now and I'm walking through the house wares aisle... By this time, I've started to make yet another hasty retreat to another section of Wal-Mart only to hear more electronic music in that section! UGHHHH! As Martha and the Vandellas so fittingly sung it in 1964, "No where to run to, baby nowhere to hide..."!!!
If cell phones aren’t bad enough, texting really puzzles me. If someone wants to talk to someone, why bother with texting? Wouldn’t it be easier just to call them? Well, that’s a subject for a future post.