April 8, 2012

Once again, progress and capitalism are making life more expensive. Remember how you once could send your children to a movie with some change in their pockets and tell them to call you when they were ready to come home? They would simply find a pay phone, and you would come pick them up. No more.

I found this out recently when I realized my cellphone was dead at the Shady Grove Metro station. I went to a payphone and put in my 50 cents, which came right back out. I went to another, and the same thing happened. When I went to the Metro kiosk to ask which phones worked, I was told that Verizon is no longer repairing the phones and is about to remove them.

So what am I supposed to do if I need a phone to tell my husband he can pick me up? I had to find some friendly-looking person and ask to borrow his cell phone. I offered him my 50 cents, which he wouldn’t take, and made the call.

What happens to someone at a lonely Metro stop? What happens to someone who’s on the last train, nobody’s there and nobody’s going to come? What happens to someone at a Metro stop that doesn’t have a line of waiting taxicabs? How do you call a cab if you don’t have a cellphone?

I have been a critic of families, especially those with low incomes, that give cellphones to all their children. If a family has three children, how much money is spent on cellphones that could go to necessities. But what choice will they have once all the pay phones are gone?

Delabian L. Rice-Thurston, Washington