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David Knows What’s Up: The Secret Shame of Using Payphones

July 18, 2011

David Knows What’s Up: The Secret Shame of Using Payphones

By David

Back attack!!!

Okay, okay, okay it’s been a minute. Well guess what? I’ve been busy kicking ass and taking names (working hard at my day job); cashing checks and making change (saving up for a trip to Delaware); breaking hearts and ripping farts (exclusively the latter). So instead of being all, like, “Oh, boo-hoo, sob sob, D-Money, why’d you abandon us?” just appreciate that I’m back okay?

And really, the subject about which I’ve returned to blow minds is more important than the mere fact of my being here. So buckle up: The other night, I’m getting my puke on in a cab after a long night of downing sophisticated cocktails when the driver pulls over and orders me out. So far, so good–I got agratis taxi ride, was already over the bridge, and my upchuck didn’t happen in plain view of any fine fillies. But then, after getting my bearings, I realize I was mad far from my apartment. And I was kinda stumbling and bumbling–in a graceful, rakish way, but still.

I reach into the backpocket of my orange skinny jeans for my cellie so I can call a car, and hot damn if my iPhone 5 (Yeah, I have a prototype) is out of batts. Uh-oh. What to do? I thought about stopping one of the homeless people milling about in the downtown Boogie Down to ask if I could use one of their phones, but then, ugh, I don’t want to be seen using a non-smart cellie. So I’m stuck, right?


I was just getting started.


Pop! Pink mist.

When’s the last time you used a payphone? Before the night in quezzie, I probably hadn’t stepped to a payphone in five years. I can remember it. I was running late waiting for the subway and couldn’t get no service in the station. So I pumped in some metal money and made the call. The receiver was sticky and hot. It stank. It felt like a punishment. The receiver stuck to my face a little bit when I was done with the call. Then I was like, “never again.”

Then again just happened.

Do you even seriously know how much it costs to make a payphone call? Bet you think it’s a quarter. Pay up, sucker. It’s more than that. Like, two to three times more. And don’t even think about calling Trinidad and/or Tobago.

Whatever happened to payphones? I used to love ’em. They were always there, gleaming and convenient, ready for you to make a call. Now, you can never find ’em. And if you do, there’s always like, womens’ brassieres and mens’ condoms in them. They’re like hook-up spots for hot-dogs who can’t afford a room somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m into that. But you don’t see me rubbing my face all over the linens in a love hotel.

So I make the call, ring up my regular driver Manuel, and tell him to get me, like, five minutes ago. This call was totes magotes the same deal as last time I used a payphone — receiver stank, was sticky, left a funny taste on my mouthlips. It was disgusting. And truth be told, I had to roll this guy at bus stop for the right change.

When Manuel showed up, he goes, “Ai, Papi, you funny using a payphone like that. You funny.”

Manny, baby? You have no idea.

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