2015 update: Nostalgia is eternal, so this entry came along for the ride.
This week, my home landline telephone service was shut off and I have now joined the ever-growing group of people doing without the copper.
Making this change brought out a bit of nostalgia as this is the first time I have ever not had traditional phone service in my home. This is the phone I remember most from my childhood in Rapid City:
Hallmarks of those phones were that they always seemed to work and the buttons were lit. Those old phones were built like tanks (and weighed about as much too) and seemed to last forever.
Even without the solid build of the old Bell System phones, the landline phone remains the most reliable way to talk to someone. Even when the electricity fails, the phone still works.
I will always remember all the old clicks and associated noises the phone systems made when you placed a call, especially a long-distance one. There was just enough of a delay and other audible evidence to remind you that you were talking to someone far away.
I have yet to hear a cell phone that matches the ancient technology of the landline phone for voice quality. That's kind of sad, in a way. I recently got an iPhone, which I generally like very much, but despite all the amazing technology contained in this mobile computer, the cheapest old landline phone in my home still makes better calls. Such is the price of progress, I suppose. Skype calls over the Internet can sound better, but sometimes don't. I do have hope that someday, cell phones will be able to measure up to what we're all abandoning.
It may sound funny to hear that, but as much as I might like calling people on a landline phone, I found myself using it less and less. Cell phones as just too damned convenient and the cost issues made the decision easy. Maybe I'll miss the old phones, but I doubt it. Besides, who wants to talk to people anyway?