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February 19, 2024

The Universal Telephone Company and You - A History

By John Grey

The Universal Telephone Company and You - A History

First, your fingers had to really work,
turn a metal wheel, digit by digit,
on its unforgiving axis.
Then you learned to push the numbered buttons,
hear the echo of the ease
in short, reassuring beeps.
Then your voice nudged hands aside.
You spoke the numbers into a control panel
that lit up with each
consonant and vowel of understanding.
Then you only had to think them,
prod upon the landscape,
a silent mental footprint
for science to follow at fantastic speed.
Always though, a simple uncritical inroad
to a complex art ... conversation.
Then technology,
unsatisfied with the rein of distance,
whisked you a hologram of the other party
to float before your story,
pick it apart with presence,
peel it down to its truth.
Then the person themselves appeared,
molecules reassembled in a disquieting touchdown
on the shifting sands of what you were saying.
No getting away from them ...
now you had to love your lovers,
befriend your friends,
be family to your family.
There was no place to dump your excess baggage,
no way to move on,
nowhere to go to go away.
No wonder you're anxious for the
next great breakthrough ...
the person you call becomes a part of you
and the talk is all inside,
or they become all of you
and chit-chat is unnecessary.
In fact, you're waiting
for someone to call
and say it's already happening.
The call could even be from you.

Article © John Grey. All rights reserved.
Published on 2022-09-19
Image(s) are public domain.
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