Our Bedside Land Line Phone: An Obituary
Purchased shortly after the marriage of it’s owners Todd and Ginger in 1998, the bedside land line phone was originally used for such mundane tasks as calling home to mom for cooking tips, getting in touch with Alexa to arrange running rendezvous, and confirming the times and locations of study sessions with grad school classmates Vallie and Susie. With it’s persistent, high-decibel ring and it’s close proximity to the bed, however, the land line phone quickly established it’s convenience and trustworthiness and was thus entrusted with communicating such landmark announcements as the birth of Todd and Ginger’s first niece and Todd’s job opportunity in Florida.
The land line phone, alongside it’s owners, relocated to Florida in 2000. This was a dark time for the bedside land line phone. It was at this time that the family purchased a cordless phone with answering machine built into the base. Ties between the bedside land line phone and her constant companion, the original answering machine, where abruptly and forever severed.
Tethered as it was to the wall, the bedside land line phone spent many hours alone in the house – the newer cordless model poolside with Todd and Ginger, it’s base, with built-in answering machine, clear across the house in the guest room. The bedside phone continued to ring when called, however, and as time wore on, Ginger’s reluctance to get a cell phone, along with her penchant for lengthy phone conversations while in repose, revealed the bedside land line phone to be the favorite telephone in the house.
Upon the family’s relocation back to Georgia in 2005, the bedside land line phone was all but laid off. Todd and Ginger had slowly but surely taken to using their cell phones. The home telephone number was reserved and distributed to fewer and fewer callers, and eventually it was able to ring only for telemarketers, political figure’s recorded messages, head hunters, and the many people who called while attempting to reach the gas company.
The land line phone tried to make the most of the time it had left. It fantasized often about calling 911, saving the day when one of the cell phones was dead. It savored the afternoons when, for 15 minutes, Todd or Ginger locked the children in the house in order to run an emergency errand.
“I have my cell phone,” the negligent parent would say to the children, “and I just called it from the phone by my bed. If you need me, pick up the receiver and hit redial. That’s all you have to do.” The children never redialed.
The bedside land line phone’s health was in decline for over a year prior to it’s death. Last Spring, the receiver button became stuck with increasing frequency. By Fall of 2013, it was able to receive in-coming calls, but could not place out-going calls due to acute on chronic dial dysfunction. It rang less than once per week during it’s final few months in the house. The phone slipped into a deep depression.
“Don’t get it! It’s a telemarketer! Don’t answer it!” That’s no quality of life, is it? And that is what the bedside phone’s existence had come to. It never wanted to be a burden. It was a blessing, really, when, earlier this week, Ginger attempted to take a call (presumably from someone who never received his gas bill) and found that the phone was dead. Completely noiseless. The cordless phone upstairs in the office was still ringing noisily, but the bedside land line phone was eerily quiet.
The bedside land line phone was preceded in death by the old digital answering machine. It is survived by the cordless phone in the office, a fax machine, a Samsung Galaxy, and an iPhone 5.