Friday, November 4, 2011

The Time I Had to Use a Pay Phone

You've all heard me whine about the power outage we had over the weekend.  No power, no cable, no phone, no internet.  We have a generator so we had heat and hot water, but the lack of phone turned into a big problem this time.

On Monday morning, I'd planned to go shopping with my friend Marcia.  With no power, and no school, I had to stay home to take care of Handy Boy...and I had no way to get in touch with her. We couldn't even get cell phone reception.

I dragged my laptop to McDonald's, where I got on their wifi.  I sent Marcia an email, a Facebook message, etc.  I didn't want her to drive half an hour to meet me, and then not show up.

I shut down my computer and as I left McDonald's I saw it in the parking lot: a pay phone.  You know, a real pay phone that you feed with coins!  I went over and picked it up, and...dial tone!  A very static-y dial tone, but it worked.
Can ya hear me now, Marcia?
I looked to see how much it cost.  It said forty cents on the phone.  Forty cents!!  Are you kidding me?  Thankfully, I had change, so I started to feed it.  

I dialed Marcia's number.  She lives about an hour away.  Apparently, the phone thinks that's wicked far because a robotic voice came on and said "Please. Enter. Fifty. Additional. Cents."

FIFTY more cents?!! I put it in.

Then a real person came on and said "You'll have to add forty cents."  I told her I already put in ninety cents.  She said "one moment please, and I'll connect you."  I heard change clang back into the change return.

"Can you add forty additional cents?" the woman asked.  I said "I did, but it came back out."

"Can you try it again?"  Cripes.  This is getting too complicated. 

She said "One moment please."  Lots of static.  I finally get connected.  I leave a message on Marcia's voice mail.  When I hung up, I heard a waterfall of change clang into the phone.  But did any of it come back out to me?  

Of course not.

I needed to make another phone call, but I didn't have enough damned change left! 

Exhausting, this power outage business.

13 comments:

Creative Raisins said...

That is too funny, I can't even remember the last time I seen a pay phone.

Brenda said...

this is why I keep a regular phone on hand--it's on my fax machine. I can always plug it in and use it if my cordless phones are down =)

dogsmom said...

While you may occasionally see a payphone in public buildings around here none of them are connected any more.

Surprising that you got a connection but more surprising is that you got a real person!

Stay warm and hope things get back to normal for you soon.

Grammy Goodwill said...

I haven't seen a pay phone in years!

Amanda said...

Oh my giddy aunt! A real life payphone! I can not remember the last time I ever used one, eekkk, I remember phone cards, the good ol' days! LOL

Pink Overalls @DIY Home Staging said...

What Brenda said. People can laugh at the 1970's style phone we keep for these emergencies, but it works when there's no power. When you punch the numbers, you hear the clicks going in, like an old dial phone. The simple 12-button "keyboard" even lights up in the dark. Git yerself one!

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

Lucky that you found a pay phone!
They are sooo hard to find these days!

Funny story. Sounds like me at the toll booths. Always seem to have only pennies!
xx
A

Marcia said...

HILARIOUS! My husband was cracking up right beside me! I thought you were going to end it with: "And she didn't even pick up!"

Even my trusty plug in the wall landline phone was out too. I felt awful that there was no way for me to get in touch with you that I wasn't going to be able to meet you. We'll have to do it again sometime!

Sidetracked Sarah said...

so funny, just yesterday i took note of a pay phone at a rest stop. I was so surprised to see it!

Tammy @ Type A said...

you should buy a disposable cell phone. what a pain. you can also call them collect from a pay phone.

was wondering if you would like to be a guest for my holiday series?

Megan declutterdaily said...

I recently had to use a pay phone and apparently they don't get the regular maintenance they once enjoyed. I would have been comfortable wearing a Haz-Mat suit while using it. I scrubbed my hands to a hot red mess aftere I got home.

classic • casual • home said...

That is such a funny story! We didn't have internet for the past two days and I was going crazy!

Controlling My Chaos said...

I rarely even see pay phones any more. Obviously we still need them in case of emergency, right?

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