Friday, October 16, 2015

"Number, Plee-Yuz"

wikipedia photo

Wild Woman's technical prowess
stalled around 1989.
She came from the land of rotary dial phones,
and, before that, a phone on the wall,
where you picked up the receiver
and a nasal voice intoned
"Number, plee-yuz."
She came from party lines
and being busted at thirteen
for listening in on the next door neighbor's
conversation with her new love interest.

Wild Woman, growing dim of eye,
upgraded to a squat toad-like creature
perched on her window seat
with gigantic touch-tone numbers,
blinking lights,
and a mechanical voice
that says who is calling.
Which would be great, if she could hear.
Mostly, the Toad intones "Unknown Number",
which is why she rarely picks up.
Occasionally a grown child will call 
to ask if she is still alive.
Sometimes, she picks up, thinking it might be
one of her children, and finds
a telemarketer on the other end of the line.
Argh. Her chagrin is palpable,
and does not make the day of the unlucky caller.

There is no question that no one she is related to
will ever give her a cell phone.
When forced to use one, one offspring or another
will hand her a small biscuit-like Thing
that she looks at, nonplussed,
asking: "How do I talk?
Where is the hole?"
She talks to the air, disbelieving
this biscuit is an actual phone.
Her children roll their eyes.
"How do I turn it off?"
she asks, helplessly, thrusting it at
whoever is nearest.


She is okay - just barely -with an electric toothbrush.
But keep those little biscuits well away from her.
They do not compute.

for Shay's prompt at Real Toads: a poem with a rotary phone. Rotary phones - now THOSE were PHONES!!!!!!! LOL. She asked for magic. But I'm old and tired. Magic is those little cell phone thingies, and devices that do magical things far beyond my comprehension.


  1. i love it - haha! i miss rotary phones. and the days after school when my friends and i would gather round making prank calls - the good ol' days when noone knew who was calling. (not as scary then since this was also pre-telemarketer days). good times, good times xx

  2. Ha, I think you can get an app to make a rotary dial on a smart-phone... ;-)

  3. This is hilarious, Sherry--and I can relate. I have adapted to the very simplest of flip-phones, but I am not carrying a computer around in my pocket to talk to telemarketers and shop at amazon. ;_) Laughed a lot here--thanks!

  4. Okay, so we both added some chagrin to our poetry for this prompt

    Much love...

  5. I was very unimpressed by the cellphone craze when it first started, maybe because I hate talking on the phone at the best of times (don't get me started on telemarketers). I seldom use mine to actually phone anyone.

  6. Hahaha! What a group of images to relish! I loved the youth on the party line and the toad on the window seat. My favorite is "Where's the hole?" in the biscuit. I still will ask how to answer one and turn one off. I cannot bring myself to get a smart phone though I have a little Samsung Brightside in my pocket. I fear getting so used to having all my business with me so I can never get away from it! Though I do have a tablet I'll use at Starbucks--which is so fast I have to backtrack and occasionally give up. Sometimes I am lonely for the buzz of working in a grad school coffee shop in Berkeley--a great island without a phone.

  7. No cell phone for this old granny! I'm with you ~~ party lines were so much fun when we were growing up .. I still remember my mother chastising us for listening in! Our first number in the 40s was 1231-W, followed by 1274-R ~~ funny the things we remember. Wishing you a lovely weekend, Sherry.

  8. This is so funny. I try to keep up with technology...(I am the tech person in our house...That looks really scary in writing. lol)

  9. I love it, I love it! Being of similar vintage, lol. And I don't quite believe you are THAT bad. Though I confess, it was the last piece of technology I managed to - well, not master, but come to terms with.

  10. Ha--so very funny--really cute, Sherry--much enjoyed. k.

  11. Ha, Sherry, I think once you DID get a smart phone you would really enjoy it. I don't think you are as un-savvy as you make yourself out to be in this write. If nothing else, a smart phone or even simple flip phone is a safety thing. You can always call 911.

  12. it wasn't very long ago that i was the same way, having to ask how to make a simple call, or end one. Now I have a flip phone, and actually have an iphone, too, but I only use that for listening to music while I'm working, and for taking pictures.

  13. Ha. I had a computer on my desk at work for years before I dared to use it. It drove my boss crazy, but I was actually afraid of it. You'll adjust to a smart phone, I'm sure. But there's nothing wrong with staying in your comfort zone.


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