NEW FEATURE: It’s Saturday night and it’s about time to introduce a new segment to Sweetsnsnarks: SATURDAY NIGHT SNARKS. I have no problem letting my snark flag fly around friends, family and on my personal Facebook page. Adding it to something that is more public is another story although I have alluded to it a time or two.
Each Saturday, I hope to impart some snark. It may consist of bits of conversations with family and friends, something ridiculous I heard, or whatever happens to pop into mind. Tonight I with the artifact known as the rotary phone.
ROTARY PHONES NEVER BUTT DIALED: Rotary phones never butt dialed one freaking soul. Ever! I highly doubt they were much good for drunk dialing either. (Who has that kind of coordination, memory and patience to go through the fuss of dialing from a rotary?) They were the staple for grandparents’ of my generation.
They were not exactly loaded with features. For example, there was one standard ringtone: Shrill!!! Like a five-alarm fire call kind of shrill. It was pretty difficult to pull off acting like you didn’t hear it in an effort to avoid getting up to answer it. Holding out to do so, meant more of the shrill screech. I can hear it now just thinking about it. It’s causing my eye to twitch in a nervous tic.
Rotaries made for good paperweights, especially with an overflowing desk of paperwork in an age when everything came by mail. It didn’t take long for mail and other important papers to pile up next to these noise makers. My grandma’s desk was a study of paper mounds. She would argue she had them put away in a half-assed, neat fashion. Her idea of “neat” was folding them in half, write “SAVE” across the backside, and stuff it in some cubby-hole of sorts.
I asked her once, with an eye roll, how that system worked for her.
“Oh, pretty good”, she would smugly confess. She wasn’t fooling anyone. To this day, I have several of those papers. Some are in storage since I live across the country from family, but I know where they are and they proudly bear the “SAVE” scrawled across them. (I am glad they do. I wouldn’t be able to get rid of them even if I wanted).
I once suggested she put the papers underneath the phone so they wouldn’t get up and walk around. Her response, “They can if they wanna.” It’s hard to argue with such a laissez-faire stance.
BALL + CHAIN: Expecting a call? Another fun feature: all the quality time you got to spend in one place if you were if you were expecting a call. Fortunately, the phone cord stretched for days and skipping rope, double Dutch fashion, was an option. It’s no wonder the chords stretched to the beyond, it wasn’t like escaping far for privacy was an option.
PHONE BOOKS: The best-dressed accessory to the rotary beasts was a dual collection called White Pages and Yellow Pages. Such directories now seem like an archive from the Library of Congress. Getting in one’s car and driving to said person’s house or place of business seems just as easy in this day and age, at least in the small town that I am from and prefer. If I need to use GPS and it takes nearly an hour to get across town I begin to feel I should have packed a sack lunch. Plus, to be honest, a nagging monotone woman never convinced anyone of anything, have they?
CELL PHONE ZOMBIES: Despite all the amenities listed above, sometimes as I look over and see my step-daughter glued her cell phone, like the rest of us, I sometimes miss the days when people actually spoke to one another when in the same room. No one ever stood hunched in fascination at a rotary for more than a few seconds according to my recollection.
Rotaries did not make their way to a restaurant and steal attention, distract at the theater and weren’t so demanding about being charged (obviously). They were something people often worked tirelessly in order to leave behind so they could get out and enjoy their lives.
Now it is next to impossible to drive past any public area without seeing people standing around like a flock of birds with their heads down to communicate, socialize, read or play games on their smartphones. I can’t blame them. I would be doing the same thing. I have become a zombie to my smartphone too.
If you will excuse me, I now need to post something on Instagram and Twitter.
Until next time.