Tag Archives: Superman

Phone Booths, Superman and Me

PhoneBooth IIDoes anyone else miss telephone booths?

Besides Superman, I mean. Doubtless, the disappearance of his dressing rooms has sent him scrambling for new ones, slowing his response times. No wonder Superman does not appear at cataclysmic events these days.

Critics have suggested he could save the world in street clothes. What? Everyone knows Superman cannot fly without his cape. However, even as a child, I wondered how blue tights contributed to his superpowers. Though I wore leotards from November through March, I never could leap tall buildings, no matter how many bounds I took.

I also wondered why passersby never noticed Superman disrobing. How could his mom allow that! Still, I understood his need for privacy.

Now, seeing a rare booth, I want to exchange pleasantries, even if the phone has retired. I close the door and remember when my phone wasn’t smarter than me.

I also recall when discussions of overflowing toilets, gall bladder surgeries and ex-lovers were conducted without audiences of thousands.

Not that I don’t appreciate cell phone convenience and safety. I can’t imagine driving alone at night without one, and even less, my daughters’ travel with car seats and diaper bags.

During college years, I spent quality time with 86 phone booths in Klamath County, Oregon.

My brother and I, working for a janitorial service, sprayed, scrubbed, and swept them. We took turns cleaning interiors and exteriors, as the desert sun turned them into roasting, rather than tanning, booths.

Paradoxically, they promoted community as well as privacy. Who, aged 35 and over, hasn’t borrowed a dime/quarter/dollar for a call? Or dug into a purse or pocket to help out a pal? Who hasn’t stuffed a booth with giggling girlfriends or guffawing guy friends to aid in calling the love of their dreams? Though mostly, we hung up.

With the advent of cell phones, however, plentiful phone booths have vanished.  Most teens will never conduct such a conference call, blushing with love, humiliation and camaraderie.

Few movies now feature a phone ringing at midnight in a shadowy booth, the hero answering a blood-freezing anonymous call.

Recyclers have thought of original ways to reclaim phone booths. Some cities have transformed them into recharging stations for electronic devices. Some have re-designed them into tiny shelters and/or restrooms for the homeless. Some literacy-minded citizens have converted booths into community mini-libraries, sharing books. Other cities, using the booths’ glass construction, have transformed them into aquariums.

Lovely idea, that. Very artsy. But I miss the phone booths.

Superman, wringing his cape and extracting wiggling fish from his leotards, no doubt misses them, too.

Poor guy needs suggestions for alternative emergency dressing rooms. In our rural area, he could use toolsheds, or, if desperate, hog barns. What could he use in yours?