Goodbye, public payphone

It was on the news last week: Germany is going to close down and remove public payphones from the streets. Time to make one final call and say goodbye.

analog photograph of a yellow public payphone

How exactly did we use public phones, can anybody remember? Warming up in the telephone booth on cold winter days? Making prank calls with your friends?

For me, it´s the picture of a phone booth on vacations that´s stuck in my head. The magic about calling your loved ones from miles apart, from foreign cities and countries.

Throughout the day, you would collect coins of an unfamiliar currency in your pocket and toss thoughts in your head. Food to to put into the machine and into the receiver when the day was done.

The waiting, the cuing, missing dinner and group activities just to make that one call to the boyfriend at home – that was part of the game. Calculating time zones. Hoping to be the last one in line, not to be bothered by impatient queuers. Hoping to be the first, not to be bothered by sweat and drool of the predecessors.

No memory was true, it seemed, before it was told to you.

Click to slide

Now you disappear, dear phone booth.

The stickiness of your façade and your smell of cold cigarette smoke will stay with me as well as my stories to tell you.

All pictures taken with the Nikon FE2 on Kodak Gold 200