Why not? The
real question is: What?
is is a public phone booth situated way out in the middle of nowhere.
It's 15 miles off I-15 in Southern California at the side of a dirt
road that continues off into the distance, going nowhere. There's nothing
there but the phone booth -- no 7/11, no gas station, no nothing. There's
no there there.
structure is a homestead, sort of a ramshackle collection of trailer
homes and shacks, about five miles away. Rumor has it there used to
be an active mine nearby and the phone was there for the miners, but
the mine is apparently no more and the miners have all gone away. The
folks who live at the place up the road use The Booth as their personal
telephone. There's never a wait.
found the phone first. Well, actually Godfrey
did. Okay, it was Godfrey's friend, but she turned him onto it, he put
it on the Web where Steve saw it, Steve put it on the Web where I saw
it, and now you're seeing it, too. All this Web activity for a forlorn
phone booth. Who says people don't care?
The Booth after Steve talked about it in his journal.
I don't exactly know why I did, I think I just liked the perverseness
of knowing it was out there and I wanted to reach out and touch it.
I wanted to make a noise in the desert from the comfort of my own office.
2:00 a.m., I couldn't believe anyone was really on the phone at that
hour, but I convinced myself that someone was. The alternative, that
the phone was out of order, would have crushed the fantasy. We cling
to our fantasies around here, Jack, by whatever whisper-thin rationalizations
necessary. Yeah, sure, someone's using the phone now, at 2:00 a.m.
Of course they are. Couldn't be anything else.
has a way of grinding rationalizations down, though. I kept thinking
about that phone being busy and wondering if maybe, just maybe, someone
hadn't been using it. Wondering if it could be ... out of order? No.
I put it off for awhile, clinging, but finally gave in and called again.
still busy. Odds against someone actually using it both times I called?
Astronomical. Odds of it being out of order? Sure thing.
took all the fun out of it. What good is a phone booth in the middle
of the desert if you can't call it just to hear it ring in the middle
of the night? That phone being busy brought me down a little bit, kind
of depressed me some.
to Steve and half-jokingly said we should drive out there and hang it
up. We knew each other from e-mail but had never met in person, so I
didn't expect him to take me seriously. It was just another fun, jokey
e-mail sent to a net-buddy.
almost immediately: When do we leave?