Over the weekend, we walked past a phone booth and it immediately caught Annabel’s eye. “Mom, look at that! A little playhouse!” We stopped so she could fold open the door and go inside. “What’s THAT?” she asked, pointing at the phone on the wall. OMG my child does not know what a regular phone looks like.

I tried to explain to her what a pay phone is. “But…why wouldn’t people just use their iPhones?” Because our dinosaur hooves couldn’t make iPhones work in the 80s and 90s, duh. I told her about how, when I was in junior high and high school, I relied completely on pay phones to get picked up after sports and school events. I’d call my house collect, but I’d tell the operator my location instead of my name. Then she’d say to whoever answered, “I have a collect call from, ‘please get me at the school gym,’ will you accept the charges?” Annabel was totally unimpressed by my dime-saving scam.

“So, Grandma couldn’t text you when she had a question?” This is when I had to explain to her about pagers. Yes, I had a pager. Who did I think I was? I don’t even know, but I somehow convinced my parents that I needed a pager…although, now that I think about it, the only people who ever actually paged me on it were my parents so maybe it wasn’t such a hard sell. Trying to explain a pager to a child of this generation is difficult.

Me: So grandma would call my pager’s number, and then she’d type in a number to call her on, and that would show up on my pager.
Annabel: Why couldn’t you just answer your pager?
Me: Because it wasn’t a phone. It could only display a message.
Annabel: Why didn’t Grandma just say her message then?
Me: Because the message could only be numbers.
Annabel: That’s silly.

RIP, Little Pager.

I didn’t even bother going into pager codes. (07734 143 6000 843) (valuable space in my brain is taken up by pager codes).

Annabel knows our phone numbers in case of emergency, but this made me realize that I really need to show her how to use an ACTUAL, non-smart phone. And while I’m at it, I should show her how to turn on the TV without the remote, how to roll down a window with a hand crank, and how to check me into a retirement home.