Sitting on my sofa on the phone, I’m asked to confirm my landline number, despite the that I am holding the landline to my ear, I have no idea of the landline number and scrabble around for my mobile to search for it. My teenage self all of my friend’s numbers and then some memorised. Most often, I swipe numbers now, and have 3 numbers to memory, my mobile, my Dad’s number (my old teenage number) and the number of our first phone.
Doesn’t everyone remember their first telephone number? I was 11 the last time I had use for that set of digits. Our first phone was a grey GPO phone, it lived on a self in the hall and my mum perched on the stairs to talk to her friends. My primary school friend had the same phone in cream, on a shelf in her hall. I used to phone my mother from her hall, carefully placing the receiver on the shelf beside the phone while dialling the number on the big circular dial, one finger drawing the numbers round. Then weighty receiver held with both hands, to ask if I could stay at Maria’s for a bit. The phone ‘rang’ a satisfying “ring, ring”. Rather than bleep, bleep or a few choruses of “happy”.
When the GPO phone was first installed, we actually shared the line with the house next door, a party line. When it rang both answered and whoever it wasn’t for hung up. We took messages for our neighbour. When I was very small, I’d pick it when it rang, remaining silent, listening intently to the woman next doors’ conversation, until she said something I had an opinion on. Then I’d join in and she’d tell me sharply to “put the phone down”, before going out to the garden to shout over the fence to my mum and then I’d be quickly removed.
We have a new phone, it’s a reproduction of a GPO, it comes in a fetching blue. The phone has been elevated from a dark corner the old phone used to inhabit, to pride of place. It doesn’t dial but it does press buttons that bleep enough to get my through various levels at the bank until I can speak to a real person. It’s from Culture Vulture, they have a site full of colourful and alternative things for the home. The phone has the weight that I remember from my childhood and it rings. Which I love, my OH likes to slam the receiver down as if he’s in an episode of the Sweeney and it responds by making a tiny indigent ring. It makes me want to sing Blondie “Call me, call me any, anytime”. I really must learn the number.
Disclosure: I received the telephone to review. All words and opinions are my own.