Like A Hole Where That Tooth Used To Be

It’s bizarre, and a little unexpected, what an odd feeling it is not having a landline tonight.

It’s irrational. I know that we almost never make calls out using it – I use Skype or my cell phone. I know that 99.99% of the incoming calls were not only useless, but an active annoyance that raised my blood pressure and made me say bad things about my fellow human beings. I know that we were paying way, way too much for that “privilege” and we had talked for months about actually pulling the plug. I know that I still have a phone number, as does The Long-Suffering Wife, as does my iPad, and her iPad.


Unplugging all of the phones and storing them away was a real turning point, almost like boxing up the possessions of a loved one who had passed on. It probably a generational thing, but the phone was a symbol, a link, the way that you kept in touch with friends and family, the way that you called for help in an emergency, the way that you called your girlfriend on the sly in high school. And it hasn’t just faded out and changed – it got tossed out on its ear, cut off and banished, soon to be in the trash.

It’s not the adult brain that’s having a problem. It’s the part of the brain that’s left over from the five-year-old who was trying to call grandpa in the days long, long, long before even touch-tone phones and only knew that you started by dialing “zero,” only to be asked over and over by the operator, “what number do you want?” and repeating over and over, confused, “I don’t have a number, I want to talk to grandpa,” until she finally convinced me to get my mom on the phone. Mom, of course, was mortified and apologized profusely to the operator, which no doubt confused the take-away lesson, but still remains a strong memory fifty-five years later.

THAT part of the brain can’t help but wonder what I was thinking when I threw away all of the phones today.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Paul

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