Sunday, 23 October 2011
Mate's mum died. Got the message on Facebook. Didn't have the mobile number to text the bereaved. Had to actually get out my black book of (proper) telephone numbers and look it up, and dial it on one of those quaint appliances that stands there quite redundant in the hallway.
What a sweet and old-fashioned process! I hear everybody used to do such a thing.
My moleskin phone book, immaculate with crisp pages, compared to my mum's of twenty years, faded and dog-eared from constant use.
What about those telephone diaries that had an actual dial on the cover? How chic were they? You wanted someone with the initial B, you had to stick your finger in this receptacle. They never really worked properly. They seemed to get stuck a lot. Still hanker for one though.
Took me right back to 1970 when we first got a telephone. With the round dial and everything. Took you about five minutes to dial a number, usually getting the last digit wrong.
Standing proud and new on our telephone table by the front door. The only ones in our street to possess such a sophisticated item. One of the reasons our phone bill was so low, apart from the fact we didn't know many people who actually had one, was that it was so bloody freezing in that hallway! Of course you kept it short!
I used to ring my mate in Norfolk and you had to go through the operator. Loved that. Was sorry when those stupid STD codes came in. That was the highlight of the call for me!
The second highest was when my mate, 200 miles away, asked why I was shivering? (Her's was in the kitchen, a rare thing then).
Sometimes I would have to speak to my cousin on there. I don't know why. Could never stand the bitch. The feeling being quite mutual, there would be a silent eerie echo on each side. My mum standing over me (never quite knew why), would urge me to say something. Then the cousin would join in with the same sentiment. Witches, both of them!
Found their number, dialled that long and inconvenient code to Southend. Bastards weren't in. Couldn't be THAT upset and bereaved, could they?