Before mobiles, we had landlines.
Phone numbers used to be ingrained into our psyche. Even now, I might not be able to tell you my husband’s mobile number, but I can recite my house, my three best friends, my nan and grandads and my auntie Hannah’s 90’s phone numbers. Some of those people aren’t with me any longer but their numbers remain scratched into my heart.
So when you met a boy in a club and gave him your number that meant you’d given him an cabled invite into your home. It meant when the phone rang, you had to run to it and hope you’d get it before your mum or dad answered. on those horrible occasions that your mum beat you to it, you had to cringe at her over the top posh phone voice.
It meant you had to wait in for the phone to ring and sometimes it didn’t! It meant phone messages written on scraps of paper.
He called. He really called.
Phoning someone meant huge risk of having to speak to their family members, so you only phoned people you really really liked. So when the guy you liked picked up the phone – that was a big deal.
The worse is that in the early internet days when phone and online time shared the same temperamental pathway into your home – you could either speak on the phone or chat online, but you could never do both at once. So if your mum was having a three hour conversation with your aunt, that meant you’re chat would get cut off. It also meant if your dad wanted to get online, he’d be hammering at your door impatiently until you hung up from your beau.
*In 96 some really flashy kids had mobile phones – I wasn’t one of them! Some other kids even had pagers. Below is a ‘business card’ from an old boyfriend and his friend. See the comment about the cost – this is because in the 90s we were all terrified of phone bills, especially calls to mobiles. These dicks actually used to hand these cards out to girls in clubs.
If you are enjoying these short excerpts from my 1996 diary, then why not consider beta-reading my YA novel, A Future Somewhere for me?
Some more phonecall excerpts from 1996 below: