Remember when cell phones did not exist?
Our home had two land-lines, but we called them “telephones,” or just “phones,” for short. I would be in my room and the phone would ring. Everyone could hear it. My mom would pick up in the kitchen.
“Mark!” she would shout from downstairs.
“What?” I would shout from my room upstairs.
“So-and-so is on the phone.”
“I SAID SO-AND-SO IS ON THE PHONE!”
“DO YOU WANT TO TAKE IT?”
I would go into the master bedroom, across the hall, where the other phone resided. I would pick up the receiver.
“OKAY MOM. I GOT IT.”
I would wait for the click and then begin speaking. That was how calls were received.
Making a call was a little more complicated. Time had to be reserved in advance.
“Mom, I have to make a telephone call.”
“Um..okay. Just don’t stay on too long because I’m expecting a call from Grandma Sylvia.”
“Well, when is she supposed to call?”
“Oh, I don’t know. But she won’t be pleased if she gets a busy signal. Remember that time she got a busy signal?”
“I know, I know. Okay, I’ll keep it short. I promise.”
I would go into the master bedroom, away from the din of the television and dishwasher. A minute into my phone conversation, I would hear someone pick up the phone.
“Hello?” said my mom.
“Mom! I’m on the phone!”
“Oh…sorry. I thought you were off. Okay, g’bye.”
Talking on the phone to third persons was turned into a family activity. Today, these steps have been truncated. You just take your cell phone out of your pocket, or pick it up off your desk, and dial the number. If it is a number you use a lot, you can dial with just a couple buttons instead of seven or ten. Receiving a call is even easier. You just pick up the phone and say, “Hello?” Or if you want people to think you are cool, you say, “Hey.”
The cell phone is much more convenient. But somehow I miss all the shouting.