Demise of the ‘Phone box’

May 31, 2009 at 8:59 pm (books) (, , , , , )


phoneboxI deliberately use the British Red Telephone Box, because it is so evocative of the ‘way things’ used to be. Yet, my post today specifically targets the American (of course!) phone booth.

It has been a good decade – longer even I suspect, since the old enclosed booths were around. As in the UK, vandalism wrought havoc with booths — and brought about their demise long ago. In their stead, the ‘walk up phone,’ as it seems called in this ad found on the useful site, The Phonebooth). [See below.]

After getting stuck with a whopping $70 phone bills for FIVE (SHORT) calls from JFK when my flight home was grounded in 2007 (gee, thanks! make me spend the night in an airport, then charge all outdoors for me to call home and tell loved ones what’s going on… great end to a trip), I am a proponent of cells phones!

But it wasn’t until yesterday, and a trip to Ballston Spa that it hit me: no phone booths… mean no phone BOOKS!

first-boothI usually do two things on a trip out of town: find a grocery store for food, and find a good used bookstore in the yellow pages of the phone book. Yesterday, I had the name of a store, but hadn’t anticipated being in Ballston Spa — which was next door to my target of Saratoga (‘Then you get off at Saratoga, for the fourteenth time…’). And good thing, I hate to ask for directions,  for the ‘shop’ is in Ballston Lake, it turns out.

Not one phone booth to be seen; the only used bookstore listed in a chamber of commerce brochure had closed up its doors and a ‘for rent’ sign was in the window; and I hate to ask for directions – but as I had no street, the chances of finding anyone who knew the store I was looking for (which sells on the web and may not even have a physical store anyway!), was slim.

 And that’s when it hit me: no booth = no book = no yellow pages.

Kinda sad…

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