Have you ever made a long distance call from a pay phone? Do you remember the receiving party patiently waiting while the operator told you how much money was due? Those were the days.
It seemed like you were depositing 100 quarters and the other person waited and waited and waited. The change registered with a cha ching, slowly, steadily but surely. By the time you had put all of those coins in the slot, chances are, you forgot what you had called to say.
You were so focused on putting in the money and hoping that you didn’t lose the connection. This was known to happen back then and you may or may not get your money back. Then, you would have to start the entire process all over again.
When the two parties finally connected, you had to tell “thy story quickly” as Macbeth said. I thought about this the other day when I saw an actual pay phone. I should have taken a picture of it! They are real relics now and they rarely exist, except in airports of course.
My, my, how things have changed regarding long distance calls. If you have ever lived away from home, so to speak, and before the advent of the cell phone, you may remember the stress equated with long distance calls. If you were calling from home, there were the huge phone bills. If you were at a pay phone, plenty of change was needed.
Nowadays, calling long distance can be done with a flair. No big deal. You just tap out the number from your cell phone and if someone picks up, it’s a go. Easy; no wait. Carole King’s song, So Far Away, doesn’t play in the background of your mind because there is no fanfare and the voices don’t sound like you are miles away.
Tech progress. Yes! The days of the bag of 100 quarters are over! Whew!
Lynn M. April 14, 2016