Why I ride, part one: the telephone booth

by on February 17, 2013
in My story

I once had an idea for collecting up some of the stories from this blog into a book, but when I shared that idea with a new acquaintance in the midst of a conversation about our experiences as writers, she shook her head “negatory” and said, “Uh-uh, I don’t want to know where you went… I want to know where you came from. I want to know why you started riding.”

Now I’ll be honest, she kinda took the wind out of my sails, briefly, and here’s why: the fact is, I have no long-buried, deep-seated, book-worthy urge or need to ride that suddenly worked its way to the fore when I hit a certain point in life.

I know there are gals (and guys) who do have that, who went through years of trying to please Mainstream Society before they finally said “f*ck it, that’s not who I am and I will no longer be denied.” (I know a couple of them who are truly fearless, and all I can say is, do not cross┬áthe woman who has been held back from her dreams, her gifts, and her self for too long!)

But I am not a Phoenix rising from the ashes. I’m more like the kid from “The Wonder Years” who narrates his white-bread suburban childhood from that nostalgic, first-world-problems-are-real point of view.

phoneboothAll that said, there are a couple things I can point to in my own history that might have been considered harbingers of what was to come.

The first is a telephone booth.

When I was in sixth grade, my dad brought home an antique wooden telephone booth – the kind that sits in a hotel lobby and contains a pay phone. Dad’s phone booth included the working pay phone (albeit with the guts taken out so it was more of a piggy bank than a pay-per-call mechanism), and this contraption served as our second phone, or “teen line,” until the day my folks moved out of the childhood home many years later. Anybody who spoke to me on the phone from sixth grade until they day I went off to college was talking to a kid in a phone booth.

What the phone booth taught me was that it was fun to be different… to have something in my life that made me stand out from my peers, something that they thought was cool enough to remark upon, ask me about, tease me about. (Years later, as I reconnected with some of those kids on Facebook, it amused me to learn that the phone booth was also something I had been remembered for.)

Now certainly, I can’t say I’ve lived my whole life being different. I was never the purple Mohawk swimming upstream in a sea of Big Hair. But the phone booth was one thing – the first thing – that showed me there’s value in standing out from the crowd… that it’s okay to be a little weird sometimes… and that having, or being, something unexpected can bring a lot of satisfaction on a lot of levels.

The other thing… well, more on that next time.




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6 Responses to “Why I ride, part one: the telephone booth”
  1. Pam says:

    Love the phone booth! A friend of mine had a homemade one for a second line dedicated to the kids in the house. You were certainly a cool kid!

  2. wendyvee says:

    I remember when that phonebook was discussed on FB. I don’t remember if it was 2 months ago (or 2 years ago) … but I remember it :)

    All I could think of at the time was how very cool that must have been to have in your house.

  3. Domino says:

    you had a sweet & fun loving daddy

  4. Certainly there’s a virtue in being humble and modest. But if you have something to offer the world, no one’s going to listen if you don’t stand out from the crowd.

  5. Tim says:

    That’s pretty neat! Just wondering, do you remember what became of the phone booth? I know I’ve wondered about things that were around when I was a kid and can’t recall what happened to them. Looking forward to the rest of this tale!

  6. Corn Dog says:

    Sure appreciate all the comments! Steve – I think that’s the problem I had with my freelance copywriting business… I had something to offer, but I was afraid to stand out and so was perceived as competent, but nothing special. Had I specialized, or done something to distinguish myself from others, perhaps I’d still be freelancing! LOL Tim – “sort of” :) I am 99 percent certain that I saw *our very phone booth* in an antique store in Valley Junction about three years ago. I studied it pretty carefully, sat inside it and closed the door. It had all the right elements, including an advertising placard holder in the right spot and of the right size. Having spent countless hours in the one we owned, I was pretty sure this was the same one. They were asking about $3,000 for it as I recall. (!!)

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