Monday, January 02, 2006

Can You Put Me Through?

I have been thinking about getting a new, well truth be told, an old telephone for the house. I have always liked the GPO 706 series phone which for those of us of a certain age will be the first telephones we remember and will always be the first to spring to mind when someone says the word "telephone". The connection is that direct in my mind. I have discovered that you can buy them, converted to work on modern exchanges, online for about fifty quid which seems entirely reasonable. Aside from aesthetic and nostalgic notions, there are a couple of other reasons for thinking that this acquisition would be a good thing.

The first is the bell. Once again this may have an element of halcyon memories of my youth but there is something about the bell on an old phone that is so much less jarring than pretty much every modern phone with an electronic ringtone. It is reassuring, comforting even, like a favourite jumper that you only wear when you feel poorly. Somehow the solidity, the knowledge that there is a mechanism, a thing hitting another thing to make a sound comforts in a way that the inert witchery of a circuit board can never do.

The second reason for getting one is the dial. With an old phone it takes time to call a number. You have time to think, "Do I really want to call this person?", indeed should you really call them? The fact that some effort must be expended to call further concentrates the mind that the lucky recipient of your call very much needs to hear your voice now, at this very moment and no other. Modern phones, where no-one is more than two button presses away, tend to allow for frivolous calls and worse, unwise calls. Telephoning ex-girlfriends or family or indeed anyone when maudlin drunk is not a) gallant or b) very wise. Modern technology enables this social faux pas to occur too quickly and easily, or perhaps even accidentally, God forbid. Making a phone call should be carefully considered, thought out and weighed up; the invasion of someone else's privacy is not to be taken lightly. Have you thought that at this time they are likely to be listening to "The Archers" or is there a test match on? There is time for these kind of questions to be asked if you have to dial. Having realised your mistake you may, halfway through dialling, simply replace the beautiful, chunky, plastic receiver back on its cradle, and no harm has been done. Now all I need to do is develop a system to disconnect my 'phone when I open my drinks cabinet and a small step towards enlightenment will have been taken.

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