Tommy Tutone heaven

By Leslie Silverman


There are at least five payphones in Keystone. If you watch them you learn some fascinating things.

First and foremost people are in awe of them.

I mean they can’t walk past them without stopping. If the whole paying for parking thing in Keystone doesn’t work out, I think you can move the parking bear to the front of a payphone and make a pretty penny for photos. But I digress from the point of my column this time, which is the old Ma Bell in a booth.

I don’t know if any of these phones actually work, but none of them have a dial tone when you pick up the receiver. So that begs the questions as to why they are still prevalent.

I was talking to a young couple who told me that kids these days don’t know what a dial tone even is. Which really perplexed me until I thought about it!

Kids these days…they just missed out on so much cool stuff. Like I would never have traded party lines for Skype! They likely have no clue what a busy signal or a long distance bill is either!

These phone booths draw people like flies to a horse. Adults go up to them with a smile and a look of nostalgia. They’re like, “Is this for real?”

Then they have to show their kids the ancient things. And inevitably there is talk of rotary phones, cords, first time using call waiting.

I even heard someone say there was no 911 when he was a kid. I had to ponder that. It’s true — Gaggle tells me 911 began in 1968. Strangely I have not yet heard anyone mention what a pain in the you-know-what it was to find a dime or to get your dime’s worth and get the person on the other end to call you back at the pay phone number.

Kids, well most of them, can’t even figure out how the doors open! And once they do you have to pray then don’t jam their hands in doing so!

Most parents force their kids to go inside and take their picture. Kids inevitably pick up the receiver, but I often wonder if they consider it’s an actual phone…like the one in their pocket.

To them they must seem so different. I find a certain amount of irony of people taking a picture of a phone with their phone! This also freaks me out a bit in a kind of Brave New World way.

I was eavesdropping on a couple outside the phone booth the other day.

“When it rained we would look for the nearest phone booth to hide in,” they recalled. Maybe that’s why there are so many in Keystone…likely should have put in a lot more this spring and summer!

Kids that go in on their own do some funny things. Some treat it like a clown car and pile as many bodies as possible inside. Others hold the receiver and pretend to talk on the phone.

Not one person I’ve seen, myself included, have actually put a quarter in to see if the darn things work (well without a dial tone I expect they don’t…plus I used to be able to call Jenny for only a dime).

Once in awhile I hear the “Superman changing room” reference. Maybe that’s why there are so many phone booths in Keystone. My spidey sense tells me that maybe Clark Kent works for the Prevailer!