On Telephoning

There was one time we were away. We wanted to call home, say how we were, what we’d been up to. Chat. Reassure.

It must have been about 14 years ago. There were no mobile phones, but the village had a phone box. Two phone boxes, to be precise, but one was out of order.

We went to the box, thinking we could have a quick call – it was about 7, 7.30 I guess. Summer, so the evening was light. Then it was to be off to get some food, and then, I guess a drink. And back to the guest house.

But we hadn’t allowed for the woman. In the phone box. Dialling. Hearing the phone ring out. And then redialling. And redialling. And redialling. The queue didn’t realise this to start with. It was only after twenty minutes that we paid more attention to the growing numbers behind us, and the lack of any decline in front of us, and realised that something was amiss.

Someone knocked on the door.

“I’m trying to get though,” she said.

It was met with an apt response. We only had to wait for another ten minutes after that before she gave up, left the kiosk, and the queue died down in minutes.

Our target phone number was answered in three rings.

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