How It Used To be

There used to be a time that in order to call someone, while on the street, one had to walk into one of these booths to make a call. One had to have change or in some countries, special tokens and for some reason, so the story goes, one never had enough coins to make a call. Long distance used to eat coins in unimaginable rate and on top of the calling experience, there were people staring at the person using the booth. Back when only one, nationalized, Telco operator existed, these phone booths were often the only mean of long distance communications for entire neighborhoods.

There is an episode of Seinfeld in which Elaine makes a call phone call, using an old GSM Motorola brick, to a friend to inquire about her father’s health. Both George and Seinfeld lecture Elaine about the etiquettes of using a mobile phone to make a health inquiry from the middle of the street.

When was the last time anyone opened a yellow pages? When did one memorize phone numbers? Addresses? Everything, pretty much all information that was ever created, is available at one’s finger tips. We no longer need to queue or have change in our pockets to make a call. In fact, most of us are no longer making calls at all. We FaceTime, we zoom, we WhatsApp, we certainly do not pay for call waiting or for voice mail.


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