Reflections: Do You Remember Rotary Phones?

Sometimes, I like to reflect back on where technology was when I was younger. Go back a mere 15 years and the world of telephony was much different. I didn’t have a cell phone or a “car” phone for that matter. I did have a landline however. It was around that time that “total” phone was hot. What is total phone? It was another way to say that you had the ability to receive calls while on another call or… call waiting. This technology is something we surely take for granted these days. But these days, I don’t have a landline anymore.

If I go back 20 years, I didn’t even have my own phone line period. I shared it with my family; it wasn’t cordless either. We didn’t have call waiting. When the phone rang, it was a race between my two sisters and I to see who got to answer it. If it was a family member on the other line, we would all have to gather around the phone to wait our turn to speak to them. If someone was on a call, we had to wait turns to make our own call. Now, no one is gathering around that landline. I mean, there used to be a place in homes dedicated for where a landline phone would be placed. We don’t even think about that anymore. Now, everyone has their own cell phone.┬áSome 10 year olds have their own cell phones for crying out loud.┬áLandlines are becoming obsolete. The only thing a landline is good for that I know of is connecting certain home security systems. We have come quite a ways in such a short period of time.

We’re talking about only a few decades ago. People were still switching out their rotary phones for phones with touch tone dialing. I lived in a house at some point where I used a rotary phone. For this reason, I feel that I can appreciate where we are with communications today. Sure, people that are older than me can appreciate it even more, but that’s fine. “When I was your age, we didn’t have voice mail and call waiting, we had answering machines and busy signals!” Seriously? WTF is an “answering machine”!

When I reflect on technology in this way, I feel proud. Proud and thankful. Proud of humans for advancing our technological collective so quickly. Thankful, because I get to be alive NOW when communication devices are going through the most rapid changes and improvements in the history of mankind.

Follow The Modern Geek on Twitter