GOW on Communications

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I remember Next Door installing a telephone when I was 11. This was an outrage for the other neighbours. Why the blazes did they need to show off with their own phone when there was a perfectly serviceable phone box at the end of the street?!

Ah those were the days when a phone box was a structure in which one found a telephone, buttons A & B and two telephone books. It was not a urinal, nor was it an information centre for all kinds of arcane “gentlemen's” services….So, anyway, Mr. Thorpe sold vacuum cleaners and had too high an opinion of himself for the rest of us. The telephonic appliance was allegedly to assist him in his retail activities. So said Mrs. Thorpe….. not a woman we liked…

Well, we had to eat our words twice once when the dog was dying and we needed to get the vet out and the second time when I got above myself and became the first person in the street to go on to higher education.
The very thought!!That was something “people like us” didn't do! Other things we didn't do included buying our own homes and getting things on “tick”.

I lived in a student flat that actually boasted its own telephone in the hall. It also had its own bathroom…..but we won't go into that just now. Slowly, insidiously, this telephonic device became ubiquitous!At work I had two, at home I had one but I could walk around the lounge whilst speaking on this one! This was quickly followed by a pair of “His n Hers” phones so I could alert the Man in the Shed to the twin truths that it was Thursday and Time for Dinner……..

But now my Fellow Grumblers but now……
Mobile telephones are ubiquitous! It wasn't too bad when they first came out. They were fairly large, satisfyingly weighty and had commensurately large keys and screens. They did have an alarming tendency to “peep!!” at one occasionally, but we could tolerate that after all, very few friends had one, so it didn't “peep!!” often. It was even an exciting prospect to think of people we could phone on some weak pretext so that we could admit that we were calling them from far away from the home! Trendy or wot!?


It was after this point that it all went pear-shaped. My failing visual acuity was accompanied by the miniaturisation of the aforementioned mobile block. No longer was a squint enough to help us find the correct, minuscule key nor to read the “text” ramblings of a grandson. (What did happen to vowels?) No. Now we were shown up for what we really were. Myopic dinosaurs in the telephonic age. I give up. Don't call me!
Jane Kirk

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