Tuesday, February 21, 2017

le téléphone

In the early 90's Parisians were getting rid of le télépone comme ça.
France and Europe had jumped to cell technology faster because of their archaic land line system.
Much easier for them to grab on to the 'new' technology. Far faster than we did. I remember thinking how cool and special that was. How advanced.
One time in the Marais, a hairdresser, had come out of the coiffeur salon in Place du Marché Saint Catherine.
This was a warm afternoon, a time to sit in cafés in the square.
He had a cell phone to his ear, gesticulated with a cigarette in his hand during a conversation and sipped an espresso from a cup he'd set on the hood of parked car.
He was poetry in motion involved in a very intense phone call. In the middle of it, he'd gotten a call from another cell phone he had pulled from his pocket. Two cell phones! Was it his mistress? His wife?
He managed all of this; the two phone calls, smoking and sipping from his demitasse in pure acrobatic fashion.
This is Bernard Henri-Levy the rockstar philosopher, not the coiffeur but it reminded me of him and to give you an idea. Also, I remember he wore a white shirt, the buttons undone to almost his navel and gold chains. Marseilleise? Corsican coiffeur? But whatever he managed all this with a certain style, a panache, a je ne sais quo manner that I've never forgotten.
Especially when today on the street all one sees is robot-like behavior with people at that cell phone texting stance which brooks no human contact. In Asia they even have walking lanes
Ah, those were the days when cell phones were part of life, not life. Cara - Tuesday


  1. Cara, in those days goneby, when having the cell phone was a very chic, my friend Françoise told me a story of a man she encountered on the train from Lyon to Paris. He made a big show of talking on the cell phone in a loud voice for a great deal of the trip. But then when the train stopped and was delayed for a long while, many fellow passengers who were going to miss appointments ask the man to use his cell phone. That was when they discovered that he was showing off, and the phone was a fake. Her man with the cell phone was the opposite of in terms of chic than yours.

  2. I have owned a cell phone almost since they were first introduced in the UK, and still have a very early phone number. I can still remember walking about with a Motorola 'brick' phone. And I still looked where I was going!

  3. Zoe do you remember when you had the first option to text?

  4. I worked as in-house counsel for a major mobile service provider in the 1990s - but resisted having a mobile phone myself until 2012 - more from obnoxious stubbornness than lack of actual desire. I knew as soon as I "unplugged" there would be no going back. I don't regret my phone (in fact, I love it) but I do remember that much simpler time!

  5. When mobile phones first became commercially viable,the wait for a land line in Greece was about a year and for its Balkan neighbors forever. That's why the mobile equipment available in Greece and other "less developed" land line countries far exceeded anything we had in the US, up until about a decade or so ago.

    As for the American Brick mobile phone, AT&T first tested it in the Pittsburgh area in the 1970s and my brother was in that group. I scoffed at the equipment and concept. Another prescient investment decision.