call this number again and i'll kill you

Detail from an August Blesser illustration.

* * * * *
I had to take a phone call last night. It was awful. This had nothing to do with the caller or the matter discussed, but had everything to do with the phone itself. Because it's a new phone. And, like all new phones, it feels like a cracker. I found myself shouting, and wanting to get away from the damn thing, because there was a line of magical ants crawling across my face.

C tried to explain to me how much better it was than the last phone, that it was 6.0-this and lightweight-that, but I didn't give a shit about any of it, because it doesn't feel like anything. It has no heft, no weight, no substantiality. It feels like a kid's play phone, that cheap cheap plastic feel.

A million years ago, on another planet, I had a black rotary phone. It weighed about thirty pounds. You could beat someone to death with the handset. It sat on a special shelf in the hall, with its own little alcove, and the chord wouldn't let you move it more than three or four feet. If it was a long call, you excused yourself while you went and got a chair.

I loved that phone. But everyone bitched about how hard it was to dial the numbers on the rotary. Boo hoo! Why did I ever listen to them? When I finally traded it in, the guy at the phone company laughed and threw it in a drawer.

What good is a phone if it's just this beeping thing that can follow you around? Phones don't have a sense of place anymore. They have no tether to significance. Which is why people make phone calls at the drop of a hat these days, and have nothing to say.


  1. You’re still getting phone calls??!! I’m getting texts now & it takes me forever to type a reply. It’s actually faster for me to phone back with an answer.

    I miss my rotary phone, too. Solid, dependable and, yeah, a great weapon.

  2. Hi Darryl,

    Did you ever write on the 1995 animated series, "The Neverending Story" by any chance?

    Thank you,

  3. I get so few calls on my home phone that it gives me a fright when it rings

    I'm ashamed to say that most of the time I ignore it. I figure if they know me, they'll ring my mobile phone.

  4. When I was a kid, we had a red rotary phone. It sat on the bar in the kitchen (and it matched the wallpaper). My sister would crawl under the bar, next to the heat duct, and talk on that phone for hours, scribbling on the underside of the bar with a fountain pen. And when that phone rang, it was serious business (or it sounded like it). It played no happy little ditties.

    I do like my iPhone. I don't understand 90% of what it does. But I can do miraculous things with it, like find out where the hell I am when I'm lost. Or do research when I'm waiting at the doctor's office. But I cannot tuck the damn thing under my chin while I do other things. So when I talk, I pretty much have to do nothing else but talk (unless its just walk).

  5. have I got a present for you when you arrive.

  6. Beth: sometimes having a weapon handy is important.

    Marisa: are you being funny? I think you're being funny.

    Kaz: I never answer my phone. *Never*.

    Kim: Thanks for the story! That's awesome.

    Susan: Don't be dirty.

  7. Mr. Berger, in the hall, WITH THE PHONE!
    (You only need a more Clue-ish name)

  8. I LOVE your truth telling!!
    You're my new hero!
    (Don't be alarmed; it won't last. I have the attention span of a gnat!)

    But thanks for starting my day off with a smile.


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