I think they're wonderful objects and they take me back to what seems to have been a less frenetic pace of life - even if they did almost always smell of pee.
- Being 'out' meant only that you were not home and therefore completely unavailable to take a call.
- Being 'at work' meant that you were at your place of employment, and when you left that place, you were no longer available for silly questions.
- When going out with friends, you made arrangements IN ADVANCE of three minutes before going out of the door so that you knew what you were going to be doing.
- When you told your parents where you were going, that was actually where you were going.
- When your parents said "Be home by nine o'clock!", you WERE home by nine.
- You walked to the bus stop, to the train station, and to and from places, looking where you were going.
- You saw your environment in 3D and with surround sound rather than as a collection of someone else's posted photographs online.
- Having a 'work phone' meant that somewhere at the office, in a closed and locked drawer to which the key had been lost there was a scruffy folder with your home phone number scrawled in it, in faint, illegible pencil.
- Emergencies were actually emergent situations wherein really bad things were happening or about to happen to someone - rather than a colleague losing a Word document or sending an email to the wrong person.
- You had meaningful conversations either with people face to face, or when you were able to get to a phone at home or work, or in a phone box. Sending vowel-free messages in code existed only in school classrooms.
- If you wanted to stay in touch with friends, you went to their house.
These days (observing my own teenagers, it seems like kids have lost the skill to make plans, to have meaningful conversations, to stick to arranged deadlines - all because of the cell phone, which makes it possible for 'in the moment' living, wherein no plans are made until the last second, are then changed at a moment's notice, and for the most inane to-and-fro messaging which basically amounts to an absence of content.