How to Answer a Telephone, & Other Lost Arts

Todd and I both have iPhones. Before that, we both had plain old-fashioned cell phones. When we moved from our house in East Atlanta to our current home, we didn’t even bother plugging in a phone. We have a land line, but we just don’t use it. I have forgotten what it was like to have one.

Well, a few weeks ago, my phone was acting up, and I was working on a project with someone, and we needed to talk, so he asked me for my home phone number. I didn’t even know the number. I vaguely remembered putting it into my phone contacts when we moved in. So, i gave that number to the friend, and then told him to wait about ten minutes while I went to look for a phone.

To plug into a wall.

I had to go find a phone that is ten times the size of my cel phone, and which plugs into a wall jack. And it wasn’t even a cordless phone. It has a cord, tying the talker to within 5-10 feet of the wall jack while on the phone.

Weird. We had our conference call. I sat at the kitchen table while I did, rather than walking around, doing laundry, unloading the dishwasher, walking outside to let the dog out.

I remember the hours on end that my friends, boyfriends, myself spent talking on the phone. I would lie on my bed, or on the floor near the phone jack. I would sit on the desk in my parents’ kitchen, talking on the phone. “Do you like her? Well, she likes you. I think you should ask her to go with you.” Ad nauseum.

I never talked on the phone outside. Or in the car. Or on the bus. Or in the grocery store. Or in the coffee shop.

Oh wait. We didn’t have those either.

Todd and I don’t answer each others’ phones. The kids know not to answer our phones. They have never had the opportunity to yell, “I got it!” or for me to yell, “Answer the phone!” or hear me yell upstairs, the mouthpiece cupped to my breast to muffle the sound of my voice as I raise it over the sound of his stereo (ha!) blaring, “Rollie! Phone!”

So, that was a few weeks ago, and I haven’t used the house phone since. I left it on the wall, though, because it made me laugh. And then I forgot about it.

Until ten minutes ago, when we all heard a ringing. A strange, archaic ringing. The kids ran to the stairs to yell down, “something’s making a noise, Mama!” There might have been a tinge of panic in their little voices.

I said “Where is it coming from?” Because I didn’t recognize it, either.

“From that thing on the wall!” Rollie yelled. “What do i do?”

I laughed as I realized it was the phone on the kitchen wall.

“You answer it!”

Silence.

Rollie: “How?”

Me: “You pick it up and say hello!”

After all of this, of course, he did not make it to the phone in time. Oh well, if they call back, we’ll be ready this time. Armed with the knowledge of outdated phones and their etiquette.

  7 comments for “How to Answer a Telephone, & Other Lost Arts

  1. Zach
    December 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    No to sound old fashioned but when it comes down to it, cell phones suck. Everyone I know that has an iPhone are constantly glued to it. Checking it every five minutes, texting, checking the weather, Facebook etc. Meanwhile…life goes on. Yes cell phones admittedly
    do provide some convieniences but I think it’s an addiction that breeds ridiculous social ineptitudes. I absolutely love to hear that old rotary ring tone when I call my grandparents intead of “please enjoy this music while your party is reached.” Uhhhhh the horror. Rant complete. 8-)

  2. December 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I agree to some extent, but you will only pry my iphone out of my cold dead hands.

  3. December 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    OMG. You have me laughing out loud!

  4. December 21, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I seriously laughed out loud when I realized it was the phone.

  5. December 22, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    I hate cell phones too Zach. I got a pay as you go plan, because I never use it.
    Half the phone calls we get are for the kiddo anyway. And she’s not getting a cell phone and I’m not sharing one with her.

  6. December 23, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Becky, how old is dream child?

    No way my kids are getting cell phones.

  7. December 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    She’ll be 9 next month, in third grade.
    I’ve noticed a good number of kids get them here when they start at the upper elementary, which is 5th grade. She’s already laying the groundwork…..

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