Just had to say more to several comments on my recent piece regarding pay phones (they’re history) and cell phones (they’re an abomination.) – JH
Goes back to my early days as a newspaper reporter. We used to cover fires by checking the city directory, finding the telephone number of a house across the street from the reported address of the fire on the police radio and call the neighbor to ask of they see any flames.
Flames are the key to sending a photographer. You'd call the neighbor and say: "This is the newspaper calling. A fire has been reported on your block, do you see any flames?"
They'd say, confusedly, "Who's calling? "Brubaker? Brubaker who?"
So you'd repeat and ask them to look out the window. ISP (Ivory Soap percentage) of the time there would be only smoke but no fire, but the stress of calling strangers cured me of telephoning.
Of course there was always disappointment, too, since at the paper we would be hoping an orphanage was burning and a giant ape was on the roof rescuing children (see movie, "Mighty Joe Young"). Never happened.
Incidentally, I go all the way back with phones to the days when an operator responded when you picked up the receiver to make a call, asking, "Number please." Scared me as a child because I was never any good at arithmetic. Made me a lifelong mathaphobe.