Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Old-fashioned Pleasures of Getting and Giving Good Phone

Bell System Telephone Switchboard (1943)
Giving good phone is an increasingly rarified ability in this age computer generated voices like Siri. It’s a little like cursive writing, another ability which has bitten the dust in a world where no one writes hand-written letters anymore. But as nice as simulated responses can be, there’s no replacing the real thing. Google Maps may be very gentle in saying “recalculating route,” instead of screaming “Herman, what are you doing?” when you’ve made a wrong turn. Yet try to imagine your iphone occupying the chair opposite you at Chez Moi #Aussi. It’s not that giving good phone doesn’t pose it’s own set of problems. For instance computer generated systems are programmed to be nice, but when a flesh and blood human being is particularly attractive and seductive over the phone you begin to wonder about the basis for their pleasant behavior. They barely know you yet you feel that they regard you as a potential lover and start to wonder if there’s any sense in entertaining fantasies of a life together. Are they talking sweetly to you because they like you? Even though they don't know you? Tantalizing experiences over the phone are a little like the buildup that accompanies some blind dates. You’ve heard all about this great guy who's rich, ripped and totally into affirmative consent and then you meet him. Similarly the voice on the other end can be like the Sirens that lured Odysseus to his death. Once you wake up from the trance you may come to your senses and start to question the nature of the personality behind the beguiling words.

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