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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Landline exclusive: No political motives in hanging on to the house phone

Paul Turner (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Paul Turner (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Today I would like to present a transcript of my exclusive interview with the last man in Spokane to still have a landline phone at home.

You won’t believe what he had to say.

Q: So why are you the last holdout?

A: I’m not sure that’s really true.

Q: Whatever. How come you haven’t gone 100 percent cellular?

A: Well, I once looked into dropping the landline, but my cable company said I would wind up paying more if I did that. Go figure.

Q: Are you a Luddite about other things?

A: Well, I still use cash now and then.

Q: Do you ever answer the phone when you get a landline call and the number pops up on your TV screen and identifies the caller as “Anonymous”?

A: Of course not.

Q: Are you trying to make some sort of political statement with your bold stand?

A: My stand? No, I don’t think so.

Q: What sort of messages get left by those calling your landline phone?

A: It’s mostly recordings from Rite Aid telling me that a prescription is ready for one or more members of my household and that this message will be repeated seven times.

Q: So I’ll bet you’ve had the same phone number since 1889, right?

A: I haven’t lived here quite that long.

Q: Do you think Spokane’s obsession with potholes stems from the fact we actually know how to address that problem but some of the other issues facing the city are a bit more daunting?

A: What has that got to do with my landline?

Q: Never mind. How many of Spokane’s old telephone exchanges can you name?

A: Let’s see. Riverside, Hudson, Walnut, Glenwood, Broadway, Empire, Keystone, Fairfax, Madison, Lakeview, Temple, Chestnut, Main … that’s all I can remember. Manimal? Was that one? Rodentia?

Q: When will you give up your landline phone?

A: When they tear it from my cold, dead, hands. Or maybe when I take another stab at dropping it.

Q: Are you one of those colorful characters who refers to the telephone as “the horn,” “the blower” or some such?

A: No, in Spokane we usually call it “the phone.”

Q: When you were a kid in grade school, how did your teachers tell you to prepare for the possibility of a nuclear attack?

A: Sit quietly. But I really don’t see what that …

Q: You are aware, aren’t you, of a landline’s limitations?

A: Well, I don’t need it to store pictures of my cat or access social media.

Q: Are young children visiting your home curious about the landline? Do they regard it in a way that makes them seem like little archaeologists?

A: I usually don’t allow young children to come in. Jelly hands, you know.

Five Wednesdays to go

How about a Halloween item before you are totally sick of the occasion.

Which costume do you remember wearing as a child?

A) Cornelius from “The Planet of the Apes.” B) The Lone Ranger. C) Johnny Unitas. D) Mike Nelson (Lloyd Bridges) from “Sea Hunt.” E) Sky King’s niece Penny. F) Bond. James Bond. G) Lois Lane. H) Virgil Tibbs. I) Ozzie Nelson. J) Scoop Jackson. K) Captain Merrill Stubing. L) Charlie the Tuna. M) Sugar Bear. N) Hoss Cartwright. O) The Three Stooges. P) June Cleaver. Q) Bing Crosby’s ghost. R) Dracula Bambi. S) Oprah. T) Princess Leia. U) Lieutenant Uhura. V) Victoria Barkley. W) Unhinged news anchor Howard Beale. X) An astronaut. Y) Charlie Brown. “I got a rock.” Z) Sacajawea.

With winter on the far horizon

A few things come to mind. Remember when I used to ask questions all the time? Well, here are a few.

Do people who have the coldest feet in bed tend to have the warmest hearts?

For you, what role does prayer play when driving on icy streets?

Does shouting into the face of a blizzard while firing up your snow-thrower make you feel like mad Captain Ahab?

Would you ever trust someone who did not know what you were talking about when you referred to the deranged snowmen in Calvin and Hobbes?

What percentage of Spokane-area residents claim they moved here from places with rougher winters? And how many of them are probably right?

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