I’ve seen you before, and I know why you are here. For years, I’ve watched you all come and go with your mobile phones, completely ignoring me. Years ago, you were thankful for my existence and occasionally took advantage of my services. However, as I became less relevant, I knew this day would eventually come; now, here you are.

I don’t blame you nor do I resent what you must do. I understand you are just doing your job. I sense if you could, you would have ignored the work order just for the sake of nostalgia, but ultimately, you have no say in the matter. I saw the work order you laid on the floor when you arrived. It was cold and surgical in direction, and I’m certain this request gave you no pleasure.

It read: “Lobby payphone removal – All wiring capped/covered – Anchor bolts leveled flush with the existing floor.”

How this decision to end my existence came about, I’m unsure. Certainly, I’m still functional and can serve my purpose as well as I did the day of my installation. Aesthetically speaking, I’m in good shape despite years of day-to-day wear. Therefore, I can only determine my fault is I can no longer attract the nickels, dimes, and quarters that once entered my coin drop so regularly.

As you searched for a tool to begin the job, I couldn’t help but feel betrayed. Did I not serve my purpose consistently even when the power was out? Whether storms had knocked out cell towers or sunspots were ravaging signal strengths, my dial tone remained strong and reliable. But alas, my demise will not be heralded with any deserved appreciation.

While you searched for the wire behind my booth, I couldn’t help but think about all the people I once served: emergencies, thinking of you, everything’s fine, I need a ride, and collect phone calls; I enabled people to make them all. As you disconnected the wire from the phone jack, the comforting sound of the dial tone began to fade away. At that moment, I realized my fault was not convenience, but instead, I was no longer convenient enough. Eventually, you will miss me.

More by Kevin F. Wishon.

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