There are some things that you only get the chance to do once; seeing Haley’s Comet, watching a perfect game in baseball, stuff like that. Answering a ringing payphone is another one. It's the kind of thing that is only accomplished in movies, movies made prior to 2003 because that’s the last time anyone used a payphone. Just spotting one on the street is like finding a horse-drawn carriage—ooh, ahh, it’s so weird to think that people once used these. How quaint! Seeing someone using a payphone is incredible and hearing a one ring is straight unbelievable.
When I heard one ringing while on the way to the bar with my friends the other night, I had to answer it. In full disclosure, I did this under the influence of peer pressure and alcohol, but I think this is the gist of my conversation with the payphone;
Payphone: Where are you?
At a payphone outside of a Bank of America. Were you trying to call a payphone outside of a Bank of America?
Did you know that you’re calling a payphone? You’re calling a payphone. Are you from 1987? Are you a time traveler from 1987? What’s Michael J. Fox really like?
Just get here already and be naked?
(pregnant pause) What?
Get here now with your clothes off, all of them.
And you’re at a bar? With people there?
Are your clothes off?
Are other people’s clothes off?
They will be if you get here.
Is there some kind of contest going on? Like some kind of naked contest? Like the first ten people to get naked at the bar get a free beer?
At this point my friends are wondering just who is on the other end of this phantom payphone call and why I’m still talking to her. Perhaps I’m buying drugs. They’d understand if they knew about the naked part.
You promised that you’d come!
Well with that attitude, I won’t.
You promised that you’re coming.
Okay, I guess I promised I'm coming.
And take your clothes off.
So what, you want me to take my clothes off before getting to the bar? Like take them off on the way to the bar? On the street? See, I’m confused.
No, you just need to take them off. Off, off, all off!
So keep my clothes on?
Okay, you get started now and I’ll catch up.
Love you baby.
|Han says answer first, shoot questions later.|
Score, a total Han Solo “I love you” moment. I could check off another thing off my once-in--lifetime list. So what happened here? Did this girl misdial? The product of a drunken mashing of keys? Probably not. More likely some guy gave her a wrong number, but did he do so knowing it was to a payphone? Was it just some cosmic luck of the draw, or perhaps even more unlikely, did he actually examine this payphone to use its number for just such an occasion? Maybe it was the bar randomly calling payphones, hoping passer-byers might pick it up and flock there for the promise of naked people. Whatever this had been, I was glad to have been a part of it.
My friends and I continued on and when we got to the bar I discovered I had forgotten my ID and thanks to living in a college town, I had to go back to my car to retrieve it, which took me by the payphone again, which was ringing again. Praying that it might be the same caller from a few minutes ago, letting it ring all this time undaunted by the lack of a voicemail pick-up on this “cell phone”, I ran over to answer it before it stopped. I picked it up;
Payphone: Where are you?
Me: I know, I know, but see I ran into King Arthur on the street, and well, we had a lot of catching up to do.
Oh, okay. C’mon get here and get naked?
Now have other people gotten naked yet? Because you said—
Hey you promised first! I think…
I’m on my way. Hey, say my name.
Ug, my name would be Tyler.
And say your name.
To me, it just sounded like Kellee spelled her name with a "double-E", and possibly with a "triple-L".
Well, Kelllee, Tyler is on his way. He promises.
And you know that one thing I said and/or did last night?
I didn’t really mean it.
I have to pee.
Hmm, are you sure?
(pause for thinking and/ or urinating) Yes.
Okay, just checking.
So you promise you’re coming?
Don’t make me cry.
No, you don't make me cry!
Hmm, what’s something else Han Solo would say?
Tell Jabba I got his money.
Okay. See you soon!
I didn’t pass the payphone again that night or go to Kellee's bar, but I’d like to think that somewhere there’s a really infuriated Kellee yelling at a really confused Tyler in a bar and everybody's naked. For me, the moral of this story is always give out fake numbers to payphones so that some stranger can be entertained for a few minutes and later write a blog post about it. It's pretty cliche, I know.