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The Phantom Phonebooth
January 9, 2013 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Whether made of wood or glass, the phone booth stands apart, and is made to stand apart, from the normal flow of life in which it is situated.
posted by EvaDestruction (20 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Whether made of wood or concrete, the police box stands apart, and is made to stand apart, from the normal flow of time in which it is situated.
posted by Iridic at 11:07 AM on January 9, 2013 [11 favorites]




While I was looking for those links, I found the catalog of Wired's Artifacts from the Future, and noticed some of them are already in the past.
posted by zamboni at 11:14 AM on January 9, 2013


National Park Service removes the Lonely Phone.

Oh, man, I used to love answering random unattended ringing pay phones when I came across them. They led to some really surreal conversations, especially when you answer with things like "FBI, may I help you?" Though I feel bad about the one time I shouted "I told you never to call this number again!" & slammed the thing down. That was mean, and I was young and dumb.

The Carousel Lounge still has a working hone booth.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:17 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's the longest article about a phone both I've seen without this picture.

Loved this quote:'...what most of us unwittingly now do every day when we speak absorbedly into our personal devices or simply into the air, behavior that we once characterized as insane.'
posted by MtDewd at 11:24 AM on January 9, 2013


Favorite phone booths: New York Public Library at 42 St., basement. Foldy doors and everything.
posted by gubo at 11:25 AM on January 9, 2013


I've been saying for probably 10 years that the disappearance of phone booths we'd really regret it when the birds attack (which THEY WILL), and I am pleased to find an article that seems to

The small town where I grew up has always had one (and only one) phone booth -- "the foldy doors kind and everything" -- on Main Street next to the post office. Last time I checked it was still there, and I found the fact that it is still there even though pretty much everything in same town other than my family home (high school, football field, flower shop my mom owned, grocery store we shopped at and I eventually worked at) no longer exists quite comforting.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:05 PM on January 9, 2013


I don't even remember the last time I saw a pay phone.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:20 PM on January 9, 2013


I don't even remember the last time I saw a pay phone.

the last time i saw a payphone was in a hastily-made cleveland tourism video
posted by facetious at 12:39 PM on January 9, 2013


I don't even remember the last time I saw a pay phone.

They seem to have been removed from most places, since they're not really profitable any more and the phone companies don't want to pay to maintain them. I do occasionally still see them in lower income areas, where people are less likely to have cell phones (or even home phones) and therefore actually use the pay phone.

I suspect that they're also used pretty frequently by drug dealers and other criminals who, unfortunately, tend to frequent many lower income areas.
posted by asnider at 1:01 PM on January 9, 2013


I don't even remember the last time I saw a pay phone.

This is the new "I don't own a TV."

Two weeks ago I sat in a train station* looking across the way at a row of four or five pay phone kiosks (the kind I usually see in airports, where you sit down and have a small shelf before you). Sign o' the times: I saw a three-year-old stop dead in his tracks, jaw dropped to his chest, staring at them. When he recovered some composure, he stepped into one hesitantly and asked his father, "What is THIS for??" his father, maybe 25, patiently explained, "In the days before cell phones, that was how people had to call each other."

Maybe I travel more than most mefites (or possibly I am more attentive), but I see them all over the place. I could probably tell you the locations of a dozen in my city without much effort. In Thunder Bay, Ontario a few years ago I spotted one that had a rotary dial. I made a call to someone with it just because I didn't know that I would ever have a chance to actually dial a phone again.


*Ironically, I had sat down to plug my iPhone into an unused outlet so I could top the charge off.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:07 PM on January 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


A phone booth? That's like a Cricket Wireless kiosk at the mall, right?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:16 PM on January 9, 2013


In the sense that the 60s officially ended when The Beatles broke up, the 90s officially ended when the Mohave phone booth was removed.
posted by deathpanels at 1:26 PM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's the longest article about a phone both I've seen without this picture.

I would love to see that photo have the phone booth itself photoshopped out. Just a big pile of college students.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:35 PM on January 9, 2013


I could probably tell you the locations of a dozen in my city without much effort.

30 years ago I could probably have told you the locations of a dozen within a mile of my home. Every restaurant and every gas station had one.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:55 PM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


My most memorable phone booth experience started at night with me and two girls in high school out in the middle of nowhere watching trains go by as we sat on a hill in the woods. Enter county police officer who comes across us, takes the girls back to town and leaves me there. I walk two miles to a phone booth to call a friend to pick me up. True story.
posted by PHINC at 8:23 AM on January 10, 2013


This is the one around the corner from my house in Ottawa. My kids (3 and 5) are absolutely fascinated by it, and want to go in it every time we walk by. I can't think of any other ones in Ottawa.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:59 AM on January 10, 2013


I applaud everyone who has the good luck and foresight to live somewhere where all pay phones are gone. How fortunate you are to have cell phones that never run out of power, have clear reception everywhere, and can never be lost, stolen, or left behind somewhere.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:13 AM on January 10, 2013


fimbulvetr: are you sure you have the right link? This seems to be a view of the Colonnade Pizza restaurant on Bank just south of Billings Bridge.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:17 AM on January 10, 2013


Yup, and there is a Bell payphone right in front of it.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:08 AM on January 10, 2013


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