Dear Landline, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Oh landline of mine, I owe you a big apology. I thought I could save some money by cutting you out of my life.  I contemplated this for weeks, and then I made the phone call to AT&T.  This was it. “Cancel my service,” I said, without skipping a beat. I’m over the home phone. I don’t need it. I’ve got my cell phone, after all.

Oh, Rotary Phone! Now this was when a phone was a phone and nothing else. No texting, no checking email. Just talking on the phone. Alas, a relic from another day.

I figured I’d get some push back from AT&T, but all I got from the other end of the line was, “Do you want it shut off today or later this week?”

“Today!” was my eager reply. Absolutely.  Can’t wait! And then I hung up, satisfied that I’d just saved myself some 40 bucks per month.  Which is when panic set in.

Oh, landline, how could I be so foolish, so cavalier about something that’s been a part of me all of my life?  Without you, how will the telemarketers get a hold of me?  How will the credit companies call me incessantly to offer me protection against identity theft?  And how will I know when my air conditioner is in need of a check-up?

Worse, what if there’s an earthquake or some other calamity?  How will the folks at  reverse 9-1-1 know how to call and warn me to evacuate? OK, you get the picture. Nobody calls me at home anymore except sales people, repairmen, and on occasion my brother from Boca. But still, what makes me think I can live without you, my little lifeline?

As kids, we dreamed of having a video phone, much like the one the Jetson's had. Pre-Skype. Pre-iPhone 4.

Call it a lapse in judgment. Call me crazy or simply sentimental. Call me old school. Whatever the reason, my phone, my landline, I can no sooner part with you than I can sever my pinkie—no matter how useless it is.  And though I may be young at heart, the comforts of my age will prevail, which is why, landline, you are here to stay.

Of course, thinking of you reminds me of past phones I’ve had in my home. Like my first one in Queens, which was a black rotary phone, the kind you use your index finder to rotate the dial clockwise, then releasing when you hit the finger stop.  Not as complicated as it sounds, it is now a relic from another day, as I’m sure that not many people today have ever used such a phone.

In my day, we didn’t own the phone, we rented it from Ma Bell and our phone numbers included letters. I still remember my first phone number, AX7-2822. Then came the princess phone in pastel pink or powder blue. I would’ve killed for one of those.  Throughout the years, there have been other developments in the home phone biz, including push button phones (goodbye, rotary!) and cordless. We’re a mobile society after all, and no stinkin’ cord was going to tie us down!

We dreamed of video phones as seen in The Jetsons, but that never really materialized—except on Skype. We fantasized about having a shoe phone like the one Agent 86 had in Get Smart, but, at the time, a portable phone that wasn’t a landline seemed outrageously beyond the realm of belief.

The first mobile phone was probably this one, owned by Agent 86, Maxwell Smart on the classic TV show, "Get Smart."

And now, my precious landline, you have become just another casualty of the past, thanks to Generation X, Y and whatever. They don’t have the history or the bonds that we boomers have with our home phones. They don’t own one and they don’t see why we still hold on to ours.  Not even my son can figure out why I care so much about you, given that I have a cell phone.

But cell phones are fickle and disconnect calls in a flash.  Whereas you, my landline, are old reliable.  Which is why I’m holding on to my 40-bucks-a-month habit.  To paraphrase the late, gun-toting advocate, Charlton Heston,

If they want my landline, they’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

So, landline, can you ever forgive me? Surely, I’m not the only one who’s tried this and failed?

41 thoughts on “Dear Landline, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

  1. Pingback: Thoughts of Summer | Monica's Tangled Web

  2. Oh-oh, I’m still holding on to my VHS. No more renting movies–VHS or DVD. No more buying CD’s either. I have check books which I use once in a while. No more paper statements. I e-file, too. All this change, I feel another blog coming on!

  3. Hi Monica! The landline… we have one but only ever use it to call relatives (we have a cheap deal: free calls to Australia, US and France amongst others) and really it’s part of our broadband service. Soon we’re going to give up our VHS (we don’t have any tapes to play in it) and considering giving up the TV (we download films now). I haven’t used a cheque book in quite a while. I haven’t received a paper statement for utilities in a year… and I stopped filing taxes on paper about 4 years ago. Haven’t used a fax in years. All very 21st century. What do I miss most from my childhood? The sound that car engines used to make. They don’t sound the same anymore.

    • Yes, long live landlines! For the time being, they’re useless, but vitally necessary. I’m sure even in the White House they’re holding on to their landlines–for now. Thank you for stopping by!!

  4. Kudos to you for being able to finally let go! I still have my landline, and your post just remided me that other than one very dear elderly aunt, who refuses to call my cell because she’s worried about using up my minutes even though I insist that it’s fine to do, no one important ever rings me up on the ol’ landline! I’m so glad I visited your blog. Your style of humor and writing is right up my alley! 🙂 I’ll be back!

    • Save your kudos for another time! I tried to let go, but alas, in the end I couldn’t. I still have that ghastly phone that rings once an evening with a sales call, where we mutually agree that I will never answer said call and they will never leave a message. It’s a clunker, but it’s my clunker through and through.

  5. hahahahah great post! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leading me to your great site. I just love a blog with a great sense of humor.

    I had a flashback memory of my old rotary phone this weekend…man I miss that old clunker!

    • Thank you for stopping by my blog. I love a good laugh, especially in a world with so much crazy stuff going on. So I’m thrilled that you found something to enjoy here. There’s something to be said for the rotary phone. It was a sturdy, ultra reliable instrument. Couldn’t use it for texting or browsing the web, but you could depend on it like clockwork for making a call. 😉

  6. Great post Monica, I’m not there yet, but getting close. My problem is remembering to charge my cellphone!!! 🙂

    • My daughter is much the same way in that she always forgets to charge her cell and it’s a wonder she can use it at all, with barely a glimmer of battery life. Maybe one day we can all get together and throw our landlines into a bon fire! That’ll be the day, right?

  7. Remember seeing the giant early mobile phones on Seinfeld?

    The only reason we still have our landline is because Jim works for the phone company, and we get a discount on our phone/Internet/digital TV package!

    Fun post, Monica!


    • Those giant mobile phones were a hoot. I should know as I owned one! I also remember seeing them on the original Wall Street film with Michael Douglas using one. Hilarious now, but so cool to own one then. 🙂

  8. I can relate to this one after having given up on the false security of a land line and going to the dark side of cell only. Finally compromised and went to back up with Magic Jack.
    Should have kept one of the rotary dial phones of my parents.

  9. I finally gave up the landline a couple years ago, but I do kind of miss it. My parents have had the same phone number for 25 years. I’ve grown kind of attached to it.

    • Exactly! As soon as I tried to cancel my landline, I went crazy knowing I’d miss my phone number. The last 4 digits match the last 4 digits of my cell number. How often does that happen. For that reason alone, I can’t get rid of it.

  10. OMG, I’ve been having the same conversation with myself for over a year now. Maybe someday we can make a pact and dump our landlines together, but for now, I just can’t do it either.

    • I love the Lady Bloggers Society and am a proud, card-carrying member! Welcome to my blog and I look forward to seeing you again–next time we’ll be sure to have tea, too! 🙂

  11. Great post, Monica. Loved the photos too. I remember craving a princess phone too.
    I still have a home phone though I don’t know if it can be considered a landline. We have VOIP so for a flat $20 a month I can call my friends and family in Europe and talk as long as I like.
    Why do I need this in the age of Skype? Well, my mother-in-law doesn’t believe in technology (I know– it’s like not believing in the air because you can’t see it) and with this system, my kids can call their grandmother every Sunday.

    • Well, for $20 a month and unlimited calls to Europe, that is definitely worth holding on to. Mine is $40 and does NOT include long distance in the states, not even to downtown San Diego (there’s an extra charge for that!). And yet, I happily hold on to my albatross. 😉

  12. Fantastic post! Hey, I used a rotary phone. It’s true I was a child, but I used one. How old does that make me? 🙂 I’m with you. There’s no way I’m getting rid of my landline. Some of us are “old school” that way. And proud of it. Besides, they still haven’t disproven if cell phones gives you brain tumors or not. Another reason to hang on to the landline, just in case. 🙂

    • Thank you for helping me justify my irrational fear of letting go of my landline. Good point about the cell phone. The verdict is still out on its safety, etc. Let’s hear it for the rotary, too! Thanks for stopping by! 😉

  13. I recently moved into my apartment, and I’ve got a new habit. Whenever someone asks for my phone number, it’s only natural that they’re referring to my cell number. So I give them that. If the person asks for my home number, I tell them one thing, “It’s no good, sweetie. I have something called a landline in my house that I never even use. So if you call, and I don’t pick up, you’ve got only yourself to blame. My iPhone 4 is now my life. So there.”

  14. How funny!! The funny thing is, I finally got my mom to get a cell phone and start e-mailing me, and she just informed me that she’s had two people let her know that they no long use e-mail because of social network sites. And I must admit, I wish she learned to text. But it’s no use, she’s informed me that she is done trying to keep up with technology…maybe she has a point.

    • To me, texting is the happy medium between talking on phone and emailing. Plus it’s less intrusive. These days its my communication method of choice. Plus, having unlimited texting helps.

  15. I am really not much of a phone person; I prefer email. Most of my phone use takes place at the office. It seems silly to use my cell phone when a perfectly good office phone is right there. Plus, I have problems with connections as well and use it mostly for emergencies. I am usually tired when I get home and am not up for talking. We almost always let the calls go to voice mail. Most of them are telemarketers anyway. I do hate paying for our landline though and have thought of cancelling it, but don’t have any plans to do so in the near future.

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