Saturday, 15 May 2010

Ringing a bell

Both Philip and Megan have got new mobiles. Like children at Christmas, they unwrapped their toys with glee, and now they carry them everywhere - like comfort blankets or much-treasured teddy bears. In Megan's case the new phone is even sleeping on the pillow beside her (happily I am still allowed that honour next to Philip).
I have listened with bemusement while they've proudly described the tricks their new pocket friends can perform - blogging, facebook, spotify, GPS,.....The list seems endless and I am beginning to tire with the unbridled joy of it all.
Recently I heard Paul McCartney in a radio interview. During the conversation he started reminiscing about the days before mobile phones; the time when people 'just had a telephone under the stairs, not even an answerphone - people stayed in to wait for a call because when you were out you were out'.
When I was a teenager, the phone stood on a special table in the hall. Do furniture companies still make those teak-style telephone tables - with a padded black vinyl seat and space for the phone on top and a shelf underneath for the Telephone Directory and the Yellow Pages. Do people still use telephone directories? 


On one level it was great that the phone was in the hall. It provided a small element of privacy and meant you didn't have to talk over the TV. The cord was just about long enough to stretch it round the banisters, so I could sit on the stairs to chat - the padded vinyl seat wasn't great for long conversations. The downside however was the draught that came in under the front door and through the letter box. No central heating in those days, so not pleasant in the winter if you sat there too long. I guess it was one way of keeping the phone bills down.
No such worries for my daughter who can talk and text for hours from the warm comfort of her bed. But she'll never really know the excitement of the phone ringing, nobody knowing who was on the other end, and everyone jumping up, elbowing each other out of the way with hopeful cries of 'It'll be for me - I'll get it'.


Philip said...

In our house we do still fight about who's going to answer the landline. We don't shout "Me" we shout "You". Megan and I prefer to let it ring. If we wanted to speak to anyone we'd have rang them!
Anyway, did I tell you about my new phone?

Charlie said...

You two crack me up. Philip, your inner little boy is showing again.

We did away with a landline long ago, when internet became available on our cable line. Martha uses her cell quite often, but last month mine showed total usage of 2 minutes.

I remember those phone tables, Sharon, because we had one too. I doubt very much if they are made anymore—I've never seen one at Ikea (then again, I wasn't looking for one).

So have fun with your new toys, daughter and boy.

Pat said...

We haven't moved much with the times - still hall, table, chair, directories but we can walk round the house with the phone. Mixed blessing - we leave it somewhere and when it rings can't get to it in time.
We both have mobiles and have been known to use then on the rare occasions we remember to take them out with us. We move less quickly these days so tend to ignore the phone if we are occupied.
'If it''s important they'll leave a message ' is our mantra.

Talli Roland said...

I remember when the first cordless phone came out. It was so much fun to move around through the house without a cord! Mobiles are a whole new world!

Sharon Longworth said...

Philip - the only time you use the house phone is to ring me when I'm in the bath.....

Charlie - you have understood the nature of my beloved so well. I may start calling him 'boy'

Pat - see my comment to Philip above, a portable landline phone, that I could take to the bathroom could save some very drippy conversations!

Eryl Shields said...

I'd forgotten about the excitement generated by the phone ringing when I was young. Our phone was hung on the kitchen wall, goodness knows why, you had to stand up to use it as there was no space for a chair in that tiny corridor of a room, but that didn't stop me from spending hours on it. These days I almost never talk on the phone and the only thing I use my mobile for regularly is to see what time it is if I wake up in the night.

I love that Megan and Philip are so excited by their new phones: it's the little things, as someone said to me last night, rather sagely.

Sharon Longworth said...


We seemed to jump straight from corded to mobiles without the joy of cordless phones - I feel like I've missed out!
I'm very glad tho' that I never had one of the early car phones - they were almost as big as a brick, and I can't find anyone now who will own up to having one.

Sharon Longworth said...

Hi Eryl,
I don't think anyone talks on the phone anymore - seems to be either a text or a two-minute 'what time will you be home' conversation.
I am, however, still fighting my corner as the only person I know who insists on spelling every word out in full on my grammatically correct texts....

Baglady said...

Ah yes, the freezing cold hallway, the tangled cord, the rush to answer. Happy days. Now when my phone rings it's normally on silent so I miss it...