Day 284: Telephone tag

Wheel call: Uganda pay phone

Wheel call: Uganda pay phone

At the subway today, I was rushing to catch a train when I spotted a lone pay phone on the platform.

It’s been ages since I’ve left surprise quarters in the coin-return slot so, for old times’ sake, I opened my purse and searched for two 25-cent pieces.

Trouble is, I heard the roar of the train in the distance and all I could find were nickels and pennies.

What started out as a happy-go-lucky good deed suddenly became a race against the clock. Did I crack under pressure, you’re wondering?

Surprisingly (to me anyway), no. I zeroed in on the quarters in the nick of time.

Then, in one fluid motion — picture a ballerina in snow boots — I slipped them into the phone’s coin return then bounded from the platform into the subway car just as the doors slid closed.

I think I pulled a muscle but, hey, no one said this was going to be easy….

Telephone trivia
You may have noticed that I think phone booths are sort of cool. Especially now that, thanks to the proliferation of cell phones, you can never find one.

London calling

London calling

Here’s how they got started, way back when:

  • 1889: The first coin-operated telephone, patented by Hartford, Conn., inventor William Gray, was installed in the Hartford Bank. When using the first “pay telephone,” a caller did not deposit coins in the machine, however. He or she gave them to an attendant who stood next to the telephone. [Official winner of the “Most Boring Job Ever” Award.]
  • 1891: Mr. Gray formed the Gray Telephone Pay Station to rent out coin-operated telephones to store owners. [One smart dude, that Mr. Gray.]
  • 1899: Self-serve coin-operated pay phones arrive on the scene. [And Superman finally gets a change room!]
  • 1951: Local pay phone calls using a coin-operated phone in the U.S. cost only 5 cents everywhere until 1951. [Sing along with me, “Those were the days my friend….”]

P.S. Here’s a song my husband likes (um, me too). I’d like to dedicate it to Luc, get well soon!

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