Your Quest To Use The Payphone

The School Pay phone - Always needed - always occupied,.

It’s 1973 – You’re A Teenager – You Live In L.A. – Your Life Revolves Around The Phone, So Does Everyone Else.

Your Quest To Use The Payphone
The School Pay phone – Always needed – always occupied.

– KMET – Steven Clean – December 27, 1973 – Rob Frankel Collection –

Someday. Someday they may make a phone you can take with you anywhere. You will never miss a call, never miss an opportunity ever again. Someday. Maybe not in your lifetime. But for as long as you can remember, ever since you got friends, you’ve depended on your phone – your link to the outside world – your link to make plans.

But you’re always waiting, even at home. Your dad’s cheap. Your family has a party line. You share your phone with a bunch of strangers, and sometimes it’s fun to listen in. But most of the time you’re waiting. Waiting your turn. Sometimes hours.

There’s the phone booth at school. Not a chance. Fistful of dimes. Tearing down the hall at passing period – standing in line at Nutrition – finally getting on at lunch, two minutes before the bell.

You have a lot of calls to make – calling about that job after school, the one you always want that posts and gets filled within five minutes; that one. You’re always trying to call KMET or KRLA or KLOS to win tickets to a concert; you’re always the fiftieth or sixtieth caller. You never win but you try. You try calling your girlfriend. She lives in Santa Barbara – you always leave messages with her parents. She never gets them. Those calls cost you a fortune. And when you finally do connect, the operator keeps butting in asking for more dimes every three minutes.

There’s always something going on, but you’re always waiting.

Someday it’ll all be different – someday. Not 1973. Not with 10 cents every three minutes.

But at least in 1973 you had KMET and “The Obscene” Steven Clean to fill those hours waiting with tunes.

There’s that.

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