No Phone Home

6 April 2009

The home phone is missing, presumed dead. Last seen a month or two ago, there’s little doubt that it’s here somewhere, beneath one of the many piles of papers, electrical cables, books, dvds and other detritus stacked here and there. The house phone has always been an object at risk, since once the two maybe three places in which it sometimes resides have been searched and found wanting it descends (or ascends) immediately to the category of ‘anywhere’,  the category of potential oblivion. In the months since it was first thought or reported lost I’ve hardly been here anyway – coming and going with a suitcase and a laptop, in the usual semi-frenzy of this and that. Now even the archaeology of the piles in the house is slightly mysterious to me, their layerings of past doings and undoings too complex to decipher, and the usual trick for locating the house phone – call it from the mobile and follow the trail of the sound – is completely useless as the battery on the abandoned handset has long since run down. The house phone at this point is an inert object, a dead plastic, no longer a tool of communication. There is, from time to time, a mournful ringing from the pretentiously named base station (itself hidden behind pies of books)  – tho it’s really only telemarketers that are fool enough to ever call that number. In some ways it’s reassuring to think of the software in some automated call centre system patching calls of human or synthesised/recorded voices selling this or that, offering this or that offer, deal or opportunity to a dead object buried somewhere in the junk of my house – a recorded voice answering, the recording stored and databased in some other computerised stack – a machine loop in which I play no necessary part. Perhaps I was hasty – the phone is not dead at all – it simply lives its life without me now, in privacy, darkness and dust, plugged into its own networks, in silence for eternity.