What phone booths are really for
11.07.2009 - 11.07.2009 15 °C
Call me my life
Call me call me any anytime
Call me for a ride
Call me call me for some overtime
This is a phone booth. Phone booths in London are very distinctive, because they are red, old fashioned looking and have pretty windows on the doors and side panels.
There primary purpose seems to be to hold these:
Ads for erotic escorts.
The phone booths do have handsets and receivers in them, but in a country where there are 118 mobile phones for every 100 people (per capita cell mobile phone ownership), I can’t imagine that the phone booths get much work. Mobile phones are ubiquitous here. Everyone has one.
I have seen people begging on the street for change while chatting away on a mobile. “...and so I says, ‘oy, mate, don’t you step on my jacket,’ and the guys says back at me... Oh, wait hang on a second will you... Hey mister, can you spare any change?”
It all makes me a little sorry for the phone booths. They used to be well used and practical, making them proud symbols of this country. Now they seem a little put out and neglected. Nothing but impotent showpieces for tourists to take snapshots with.
Even as a tourist, though, you won’t get very far without a mobile phone. A hotel around the corner from me has a sign up that says, “Hotel reception. If the door is locked, please ring 020 1111 1111.”
Kind of leaves you stranded if checking in late without a mobile phone.
I suppose if you were willing to hike a block away to the nearest booth, you could use one of the phone booths. If you have any trouble remembering the number of the hotel reception between the door and the phone booth, you could always take down one of the escort ads and jot down the number of the back.
There you go. Perhaps phone booths are more important than impotent.