The other night I was watching a TV crime drama when they showed the suspect using an actual fully enclosed telephone booth. The sight of it seemed so quaint to the reality of today.
Recently I learned that while telephone booths are few and far between, an artist is using them in New York City to connect the average American citizen’s with the stories of illegal aliens.
“I arrived as an undocumented immigrant,” the voice of a man from Mexico says. “I made it my mission to transform the lives of undocumented students into leaders and role models.”
That’s art? Whatever, dude.
Seeing the booth on TV, I got to thinking about the last time I used one. It took a minute, but I realized it happened the year I ran away from home and you’d be surprised to know that this wasn’t as long ago as you’d think.
Shortly after my wife and I separated, my mom died — leaving me with a deeply wounded heart. And by July 2002, I took off on a cross-country journey, hoping to find answers to questions I hadn’t yet asked myself.
For close to two-weeks I wondered from California to Oklahoma, up to Nebraska to Utah. I did make one sojourn across the ‘mighty Mississip’ to visit the resting place of Brigadier General William O. Darby (no relation) at Fort Smith National Cemetery in Arkansas.
A few miles outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming, at a truck stop, I decided to fuel up and get another large cup of coffee and more sunflower seeds before heading to parts unknown. After paying for my loot, I noticed a phone booth tucked in the back of the store.
Since I had purposely left my cellphone behind and I really wanted to let my wife know I was alright, I decided to call. It was 4:15 in the morning in the place they call the ‘Magic City of the Plains’ and an hour earlier in Nevada, so I woke Mary up when I called.
We spent nearly an hour on the phone, her sitting on the edge of the bed, me enclosed inside that phone booth. Believe it or not, that phone call helped set my mind straight and I was ready to get back home and stay put.
No artist ever put a phone booth to better use than I did that early morning east of Wyoming’s capital city.