Just As I Thought

Sleepless obsessions

As I lay awake tonight waiting for the appointed hour to get up and head for the airport, telephones swam through my gauzy brain. Two questions to ponder while I am flying cross country:
First, remember way back when your telephone used to be provided by the phone company? (Those of you born after, say, 1976 won’t remember this.) Back then, the phone had a little slip of paper on which your telephone number was printed. This slip of paper resided under a little retangular window.
Do phones still have this little indentification? I don’t think any of my phones has had one of those little number windows in at least 10 years.
Second, have you noticed that commercials for 10-10 services and collect call services have all but disappeared? I can only assume that the proliferation of cellular phones have made those services mostly obsolete. There’s a whole industry gone in a flash. The march of progress.
Well, I’m off to San Francisco International Airport. Catch you on the other side of the country!


  • I remember when I was a kid we had phones like that.

    Bon voyage, and welcome back to the east coast. We’ll keep the light on for you.

  • I think I have one of those phones somewhere in this jungle of my parent’s house – it came over with us when we moved from Chicago in 77. Anyway…have fun on your trip “home”. I’m sure the DC Shorts will be a successful as ever. I’ll be making a trip back “home” in early October.

  • I remember not only provided phones, but after years of push-button phones in the Pittsburgh suburb where I grew up, arriving in Charlottesville to attend the University of Viginia and encountering DIAL phones. Central Virginia telephony was still controlled by some backwards company called ‘Centel.’ Scary.

    Waiting for that dial to spin back around after each number was agonizing. What barbarism!

  • We not only had the provided phones and the dials, we had party-line service–the other parties were my grandparents, my great-aunt, and the guy who owned the general store at the top of the hill–probably until I was about 12 years old.

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