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Man talking on the phone I Antique Design Illustrations

One item I did not bring back from Michigan was a rotary telephone. I found it underneath a pile of hoarded things piled up in the unused downstairs loo. It hadn’t seen daylight in decades. It was a squat black box-like thing with a clear plastic rotary dial. The base and receiver were connected by a thick coil resembling a small python. It was as heavy as a rock – no mobile type indeed! I understand Mother hoarding my childhood knickknacks as something I would someday want but why on earth keep such a phone? I remember it though; it was replaced sometimes in the 80s [?] with a modern ‘hip’ phones with push-buttons. It hung from the wall.

Younger Spo-fans* will be shocked to learn back then people did not call people but homes. When the phone rang the members of the household actually got excited someone was calling and for whom. “Spo residence!” said the person who got to the phone first. Then there was a pregnant pause in the house until the listener reached out with the receiver to another announcing ‘it’s for you” and you were obliged to (oh the horror!) get up and go to it.  Nowadays when I am on the phone I tend to walk about. Back then your walking was limited by how far the coil would expand. You were obliged to sit and talk oblivious to anything else.  Multitasking while on the phone was considered rude.

Phone calls then were positive and surprising. Nowadays when the phone rings my first emotional reaction is to cringe. No one seems to call anymore; the calls I get are from telemarketers, scam artists, robocalls, and other villains of the trade.  Call ID helps screen out the ugly but it eliminates the anticipation of who this may be.

Another then and now matter: phones stayed put; you went to them. My grandparent’s phone was located in the ‘phone room” under the stairs. Nowadays the little bastards cleave to our sides like tots with separation anxiety, constantly chirping and whining to get us to pay them attention.  Iphones also wander off and run and need constant minding where they are located. Old phones did not budge an inch from their stands; you knew where they were at all times.

I actually thought to bring the old rotary back and “go retro” but then I remembered we no longer have a land line – another extinct species in the phone world.  I may try to reuse some of the ‘rotary rules’ with my iPhone just to teach it a lesson it is not the boss of me.** I may even return to saying “Spo residence!” when someone calls just to throw off the telemarketers a bit before hanging up on them.



*The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections sometimes keeps demographics on what sorts drop by.  The last batch of data is maybe four or five years ago; it suggested Spo-fans are of the older type between 55 and 2,000 years old. The data looks skewed as it included folks like The Muses and The Norns. I suspect they are older than 2,000 but ladies (let alone archetypes) do not tell their age or weight. Youngsters who show up to Spo-Reflections usually do so by mistake when they google something that takes them here.  I can almost hear their howls of disappointment when this happens.

**Fat chance of that.

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August 2020

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