The recent power and phone outage reminded me of
when I lived on a small island in the Pacific for a few years.
The electricity and phone were run by the government. Nobody had their own private phone line. Instead, we had this service called 'party lines'.
We shared our phone line with some other random person. The wait for a private line was something like ten years. I hope that things have improved since then.
Anyway, we shared a phone line with people who must have been the world's worst party-line partner. This person or persons would always forget to hang up their phone receiver. Which meant, we'd suffer for weeks without phone service.
Sometimes, the kid on the other end of the line would get on when we were in the middle of a conversation and chatter nonsense at us. I think that is why I'm so phone-a-phobic as an adult. I always think the kid is going to pop on the line and make snide comments or join into our conversation.
My dad came home with a megaphone one day during a particularly long siege by the other 'party'.
"What are you doing with that... thing?" I asked.
Dad ignored me, taking the thing and aiming it at our phone receiver. He used it to shout "Hang up the phone!" to the other phone party. But to no avail.
Nowadays, we have so many option to contact each other: e-mail, cell phone, facebook, texting, tweeting, etc. Sometimes though, you just don't want to be found. It is during those times I wax nostalgic for the 'party line'.