Why Getting a Landline Was the Best Decision I Made This Year


Photo Credit:Vogue Magazine

An argument for the old-fashioned phone.

I was on a call with my cable provider for something unrelated when they asked if I wanted to add a landline to my cable package. “No,” I scoffed. Ever the salesman, the representative pressed on.
What if someone happened to my cell? What if the power went out
? “So alarmist!” I thought. But then a specific memory that I’d buried deep bubbled up: Boston, April 13, 2015. Two bombs, detonated fewer than five miles away from my college. Erroneous news reports saying another lurked on my campus. I remembered frantically trying to call my parents to tell them I was ok, but not being able to get through. None of us could: the cell towers were overwhelmed with call and text volume. We finally connected hours later. “Nothing was working,” I said, voice soft and shaky, to my father. “Ah,” he said. “The same thing happened to me in New York on September 11.”
So here I was, five years later, scared again and separated from my family. Perhaps some tangible technology wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
I’d recently become fascinated with
GPO Retro
, a U.K. based company that makes oxymoronic nostalgic-future products: for example, an 80s-style stereo that blasts music via bluetooth.

They offered modernized versions of British telephone designs from 1920-1970—all chic, classic, and significantly less clunky then the phones of my childhood. So, I ordered one.
Sure, most of my friends still prefer to text me. But every day, I use my landline more and more. Especially for work: the reception is better, and there’s a healthy dissociation that comes with having one phone for business, one phone for pleasure. And if I do take a personal call, I’m no longer distracted by incoming messages or notifications. The voice on the other end has my full attention.
The other night, I left my phone on silent in the kitchen. Normally, I would have felt some withdrawal-related anxiety:
what if someone needs to urgently reach me?
Well, there was the landline for that. I had no excuse to get sucked into my endless nightly scroll. It all felt very peaceful. “New phone,” I thought. “Who dis?”
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