End of an era
Muse #330 - finally before I enter 2022
It was the end of an era. Sort of. Or maybe, I was late for the party. The concept of the home phone has died. I ported my home phone number a while back to be an additional call forwarding number to my cellphone. So in reality my home phone was virtual. And I had been slowly removing this number from whoever called me and substituting it with the now-ubiquitous cell phone number.
Though I had no home phone, my venerable Panasonic multi-handset cordless phone was still plugged in and sitting in the corner of my office. There was a ton of phone numbers in its address book and I had not gotten to transcribing them over to my PC/mobile contacts. And finally, with the help of my daughter, it got done and the phone(s) was retired and sent to its grave. Not garbage, but to socially responsible electronics recycling grave.
I was one of the early adopters in using VoIP having used Vonage since at least 2003. And I was with them for 17 years. There was a time when long-distance calling to India was around 2,000 minutes a month and therefore this provided an ability to do that at competitive prices. The prior ten years of global calling were using calling cards and I still have a collection of over 500 of them. Perhaps this will be worth something someday and I will strike it rich.
In the last couple of years, the concept of long-distance calling had slowly faded. Everyone and their dog had a cellphone. And were accessible using Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger or others like Signal or Telegram. Including my father who is now nearly 91. Times have indeed changed.
Work calls are becoming rarer. I joined a new organization recently that provided me with an iPhone (and now I carry two of them including my personal) and in four weeks yet to receive a single phone call. Or text. Except for a ton of two-factor authentication. Work calls have moved to Teams (long live Skype that seems to be dying and on its way out) and Zoom and Google Workspace. And yesteryear players like Webex are barely hanging in there, ready to die.
But yet, the phone I threw away was a trigger of memories. Memories of over a 40-year time span. Like going to the post office and standing in line after 11 pm to make long-distance phone calls (it was cheaper late at night). Like how we waited for 20 years for a home phone in India in a government-run socialist democratic economy based on control and paucity. It does seem a long time ago. The classic dial phones. My first cell phone was in the ’90s. Calling cards. Smaller GSM phones in Singapore. Cell phones in the US. Variety of phones in Canada. Home phones. Cordless phones. And with extraordinary computers today in our pocket.
Sayanora my final cordless phone. RIP.