when i was little we had 2 phones in the house. one in the kitchen, attached to the wall with a really long cord and another in the family room with a not so long cord. you could walk around the whole kitchen while talking on the phone but mostly people just sat in the chair closest to the phone wall. in the family room we sat in the chair which was right next to the phone. my parents eventually put a phone in their bedroom and an additional one in the basement in dad’s office. by the time we were teenagers we had phones all over the house as phones were added to each of the 5 bedrooms. there were no ‘answering machines’ so you never knew when you missed a call. it also meant as a kid, you could get in a lot of trouble for staying on the phone too long because someone else may be expecting a call. You could get in even more trouble for forgetting to relay a message. there was no call waiting so the phrase “beeping in” did not exist.
i remember in college we had one phone in our dorm room that we rented from the phone company and shared with 3 people. getting together the money for a deposit was a big deal and if you wanted a specific color or sleek style, it cost extra. we would have to return the phone to the phone company at the end of each semester. 3 people shared the phone in our dorm room and of course we would have to talk in front of whoever was in the room at the time because the phone was attached to a short cord. long cords may have cost extra too – i don’t recall – but given our dorm room dimensions, it would hardly be worth the investment.
last night i called my brother thomas. he was perusing the smith & hawkin liquidation sale but was able to answer the phone while he was shopping. about 20 minutes later he asked me to hold on for a moment while he placed his take-out order in a chinese restaurant. he then drove home, and at some point during our conversation he ate his dinner. he walked the dog through his neighborhood in westfield, checked something i wanted him to see on the computer in the den and the ended up sitting comfortably in his favorite chair in his living room all set to watch some reader’s digest special on tv. he probably could have just watched the program on his iphone . . . .