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Posts Tagged ‘rotary dials’

Do you remember walkie-talkies? This was light years before cell phones. This was back to a time when phones were not only attached to the wall, but most had rotary dials. Walkie-Talkies were a little larger than a small transistor radio, You would press the button on the side and talk into it communicating with your friend who had the other one. When you finished your message you would say ‘over’ so your friend would know it was his turn to talk. More often than not there would be no reply because all you ever heard was static. Sometimes there would be little pauses and patterns in the static. I like to think that the static was actually noise from space, quite possibly the sounds that existed when our world was created Or perhaps noise from aliens!  You never know, it could be.  In the end we always resorted to yelling into them which worked because we were usually standing not more than 10 feet away from each other.

Many, years later just before cell phones became common place another little walkie-talkie type device hit the market. These were a form of short wave radio’s that actually did work. Like a walkie-talkie they came in pairs and were set to a particular and unique frequency. With an average set you could easily be on one side of a modern day shopping mall and talk to your partner who could be anywhere in the mall or even in the parking lot. While this was easily a billion dollar industry, it was short lived because cell phones hit in a big way about two years later.

So why, you are asking yourselves, am I even talking about this? Well because I am about to pick on my parents again.

About eight Octobers ago my parents came for one of their regular visits. My mother told us she wanted to buy us these ‘walkie-talkies’ We told her thanks but we really didn’t see a use for them. “Neither did we.” She said, “Now we don’t know how we manage without them!” We compromised, we would wait and see how invaluable they were between my parents and then we could better decide if we thought they would be useful for us.

The first test was upon the walkie-talkies as we were heading to the mall. For my parents going to the mall is a leisure activity. They walk in the front door synchronize their watches and make a plan. The conversation between my mother and father goes like this:

Mother: Okay, it is 1:30 where do you want to meet?
Father: I don’t know.
Mother: How about we meet back here?
Father: Okay what time?
Mother: It is 1:30 now, how much time do you need?
Father: Doesn’t matter to me, I’m good whenever, we just need to meet back here so we can make a plan for supper.
Mother: Okay it is 1:30 say we meet at…when?
Father: Well, hmm, what time did you say it was 1:30?
Mother: One thirty, oh wait did my watch stop? No its one thirty.
Father: Well, what did you want to do for supper?
Mother: I don’t know we can discuss that later, when did you want to meet back here?
Father: Whenever you want, I just have to hit a few stores and then I’m good.
Mother: Okay its 1:45 now, how about we meet at 3:30
Father: 3:30? That doesn’t leave much time does it?
Mother: Well we can meet at 3:30 and if we need more time we can always pick a new time.
Father: but then we have to come back here and then go through this again.
Mother: Okay how about 4?
Father: Hmm.
Mother: You said it doesn’t matter to you!
Father: Okay 4 pm. Did you want to meet at the food court?
Mother: No, here.
Father: Okay back here at 4pm. What time is it now?
Mother: 2:10.

And off they go, and they may pass each other in the corridors but they are pretty much on their own, until dinner of course.

My beautiful wife and I hit the mall with a slightly different plan. We view the mall as an evil place filled with zombies. The mission is simple, in and out as fast as we can. We don’t separate we have each other’s back. If the mission is more than 20 minutes it is considered a failure.

Being the accommodating cheerful people my wife and I are, we agreed to the plan. We watched as my Mother and Father went their separate ways and faded into the throng of Zombies. My wife and I headed for the nearest bench. After a time we spotted my father.

Me: Have you seen mom?
Dad: No.
Me: Why not call her on the walkie-talkie?
Dad: I left it in the car.

So far, test failed. A few moments later my father is back with walkie-talkie in hand. He calls my mother. No answer, he waits a moment and calls again.

Me: Problem?
Dad: It’s probably at the bottom of her purse and she can’t hear it.

Second Test: FAIL!

Later my wife and I spot my mother.

Me: have you seen Dad?
Mom: No.
Me: Why not call him on the walkie-talkie.
Mom – rummaging around in her purse finally finds it and turns it on.
Me: It wasn’t even on?
Mom: No I can’t hear it in my purse so I save on the battery by turning it off!

FAIL!

Mom – calls my father, no answer and tries again…and again.
Me: Problem?
Mom: he is not answering, maybe his battery is out.
Me: No he tried calling you awhile ago but you had yours off, so it is not his battery.
Mom: Well he is not answering.

FAIL!

Finally the time arrives and we all meet up:

Me to Dad: So, after you tried calling mom, we found mom and tried calling you on the walkie-talkie that you guys can’t seem to live without, but you didn’t answer.
Dad: I turned it off.
Me: Why?
Dad: To save the battery because your mother can’t hear it if it is in her purse. So why should I have it on?
Me: I’m not sure why you even carry them.
Dad: Why? They are wonderful.
Me: Well thank you very much for wanting to buy us a set but really I think we will pass.

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