Not that we endorse the kind of obsession that might lead you to call someone 32 times in a row, but if you happened to be that kind of obsessed teenager, home phones had your back. They kept no records, so your crush didn’t have to know how badly you were trying to talk to them.
You’d sometimes upgrade your phone plan to get a better long-distance plan. Or you’d shell out for a snazzy novelty phone, like a Mickey Mouse phone. But, back in the glory days of the landline, you’d never have to upgrade every couple of years and shell out between $500 and $1,000.
It’s pointless to call and ask someone if their refrigerator is running, unless you borrow a phone with an unknown number. Not that anyone picks up unknown numbers anymore.
If we had a choice, we wouldn’t go back to memorizing numbers—but back when we did, it was a great feeling to be able to recall someone’s phone number instantly. Now the only numbers we recall are our first home phone and the one from that song by Tommy Tutone.
The Angry Hang-Up
What was more fun than dramatically slamming down your phone? Take that, other caller!
Remember when you didn’t have to get back to someone right away because you missed their call?
Okay, maybe we don’t miss this, but remember battling with siblings over who got to use the phone first after school? Or battling with your mother over how much time you were spending on the phone? This might have culminated in a neighbour coming over and declaring that they can never get through because they always get a busy signal.
Your Own Extension
There’s only one solution to a household full of teenagers who each need to spend five hours per night on the phone: multiple phone lines. Having your own extension felt special—and you never had to share again.
Figuring Out a Clever Answering Machine Message
Part of the charm of an answering machine was brainstorming something clever to record instead of just listing off who lived with you and saying you’d return the call. Or, if you couldn’t think of something clever, you’d just use George Costanza’s very annoying message. Well, we guess you could do that with your voicemail. Except that should be professional. Wait, is this a function of adult responsibilities? Oh no.