The payphone. Once upon a time it was the icon of contact with the outside world. I remember when a local call was only a dime but by the time I was old enough to drive legally it was a quarter. I learned to travel with a handful of coins in case of an emergency. And in most of my teen years emergency contact was the purpose of a payphone. But it wasn’t long before I learned that a pay phone could also be a source of entertainment. It all started with a sharpie and a song on the radio. I couldn’t help myself as I compelled by my own sense of humor to write 867-5309 on the phone booth. I walked away snickering as if I had just pulled off the greatest prank ever. The glorious thing about payphones is the amount of anonymity they provided. For price of a handful of quarters you could call anyone and pretend to be anyone. Calling the front desk of a hotel and leaving a message for “Joe Kezonu” was always good for a snicker. But you could also call into a payphone for free if you called from a regular land line. I remember one particular boring day when a few college friends were looking for something to do and spotted a person standing near the phone booth at the 711 station below the dorms. The number into the booth had previously been taken down and kept by the phone with the idea of a game. The game was to look out the window and if a girl was near the booth we’d call the number and try to get her to answer. If you could get the girl to flirt with you then you won. We didn’t really keep score or anything but we did occasionally win a date. The best one that I actually remember went something like…
Guy: Is this Superman’s office?
Girl: ( Giggling ) What? No.
Guy: I think it is. Can you look for him?
Girl: I don’t see Superman.
Guy: You will if you wait a few minutes.
The guy proceeded to leave the room and go talk to the girl in person.
There was one time that a drunk answered the phone.
Guy: Is Superman there?
Drunk: This is Superman. What do you want.
The guy didn’t know what say next but we all a good laugh.
Now with the new technologies we don’t really need the payphone but there’s still a few around. Perhaps I’ll call this on sometime to see if anyone answers and ask if they see Superman. Just for old time sake.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days!
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