Women’s fashion is a subtle form of bondage. It’s men’s way of binding them. We put them in these tight, high-heeled shoes, we make them wear these tight clothes and we say they look sexy. But they’re actually tied up.—David Duchovny
One of the worst sins during that period of American history was keeping the phone “tied up.” This was especially serious if you shared a phone line with your neighbors, something called a party line. There was no party. At least, ours wasn’t. Sure, you could pick up the phone and listen in on their conversation, but we had boring neighbors so there wasn’t any fun in that. Instead, they complained that we always kept the phone line tied up. Poppa had calls coming in at all hours of the night and if the phone rang at our house, it rang at our neighbors’ houses, too. They weren’t especially happy.
Poppa had competition for the phone once I became a teenager. Well, sort of. I liked the concept of calling and talking to my friends, but we were all geeky and stuff and once we exchanged whatever piece of information we needed, we’d just tie up the line not saying anything.
The worst was one evening when I called the girl I was sort of dating. We tied up the phone for the better part of three hours. The conversation consisted largely of, “What are you doing?” Followed by, “Oh, not much. What are you doing.” This went on for three fucking hours. I think half the town was annoyed with us by the time we hung up, because anyone who tried calling Poppa during that period couldn’t even leave voice mail. Instead, they just got this frustrating alternating tone called a busy signal.
We don’t have any of those issues now, of course. Talk all you want. Text all you want. Tie up the phone all damn day if you wish. Pay a huge phone bill. I find it interesting that we consider a $50 a month phone bill inexpensive. Heads would have rolled had Poppa ever gotten a fifty dollar phone bill. I remember him once challenging a $36 bill. “No one could talk on the phone that much,” he told the customer service representative. She agreed and adjusted the bill.
Who knows what telephony will be by the time my children are my age. The technology is changing so rapidly that they likely will not have to use a device at all; voice communication will be built into clothes or, at the very least, wearable accessories. Tap an icon, order pizza. Tap a button, have a friend join you. There will be a button for calling your mother; you’ll avoid it. No one wants to tie up the shirt listening to their mother complaining about how she never gets to see the grandkids. Wearable phones means one could, theoretically, be tied up with their phone rather than on their phone. The future could be kinky.
I bet you looked at the title and picture and thought I was going a very different direction with this, didn’t you? Sorry, but I didn’t want to be that obvious. Being tied up has too many possible scenarios. I didn’t want to “tie up” your entire day.