Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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No more phone booths

MY cell phone doesn't get much use, I keep in the car's glove compartment mainly for emergencies. But I'm the exception. Everyone's got a cell phone nowadays, and some people seem to be on them constantly. Only ten years ago, the 'car phone' was such an expensive item that you could buy fake antennas to stick on your car to make everyone else think you had a car phone. Then they went portable. And got smaller. And cheaper. And digital. And Web-enabled. Rates have been plunging to the point that it's not much more expensive to use a cell phone than a landline phone. Some people have gotten rid of their landline phones already, and eventually it looks like we all will.

I was realizing that the other day, and I thought, so much for the pay phone. Which is an odd thought. The pay phone and its phone booth have been part of our culture for the past hundred years or so. Superman changes in one. Dr. Who travels in one. Trinity and Neo and the gang can get back to the real world from the Matrix only by a 'hard-line' phone, usually a public pay phone. Remember that scene in Neuromancer where Wintermute is trying to talk to Case, and as Case walks by a bank of pay phones, each phone rings as he walks past it? What a great set piece. Damn, I can't wait to see the Neuromancer movie. Hope they do it right...

But I digress. When everyone has a cell phone, there'll be no point to pay phones. They're constantly vandalized, I'm sure they lose money for the phone companies already, who will be more than happy to rip them out when people stop using them altogether. And another item of public pop cultural furniture that two or three generations took for granted, will be gone forever.

Oh, there'll probably still be a few, in airports and so forth, but the ubiquitous pay phone outside every 7-11 and on every other street corner will be gone. When you see them in media, they'll be a marker for a past era, like rotary telephones, old cars, or those vaguely racist jokes about watermelons in The Philadelphia Story.

atata(kai), atata(maru), atata(meru)
meaning: warm
春暖 == shundan == warm spring weather
暖気 == danki == warm weather
Left radical is 'sun' (日), right is an Non-General Use character meaning 'at this point', originally a pictogram of two hands reaching from above and below and a knotted rope in the middle. Henshall suggests taking the middle portion of the right radical as a third 'hand', and as a mnemonic:  'Three hands warming in the sun.'


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