When's the last time you used a payphone?
I've been sitting here, wracking my brain trying to remember the last time I pumped a bunch of quarters into a phone to make a call. I figure, I've had a cell phone since 2002, so I doubt I used one after that. But I remember when payphones were the cornerstone of my young adult life. They usually looked like this:
I didn't have a cell phone yet because they were basically still for rich people, but I had a beeper. And since the phone got shut off in my apartment every other month because of irresponsible roommates, I got a beeper. But often, that meant I was schlepping a block or two to the nearest phone. It sucked. I was so stoked for my first phone. But back in those days, they literally were found every couple blocks.
So how many are left in Maine now?
If you search around online, it's kind of hard to get a totally accurate picture, but according to a recent BDN piece, it would appear that there are at most, 50 working payphones left in the whole state. That's a pretty significant downturn from 25 years ago, when there were over 5,000 statewide.
These days, there are 33 official ones according to the Maine Public Utilities Commission. There are payphones in Searsmont, Raymond, Meddybemps, the Madawaska Fire Dept., and one at the Kittery Police Dept. Bangor has one left at the public health office on Texas Ave. Most of the reason there are a few left is to keep them in underserved areas. Solid plan, really.
In modern times, they're basically a unicorn in the wild. But at least there are a few left. But to go from 5,000 a couple decades ago, to being almost able to count them all with your fingers and toes, is crazy. But hey... that's just the way the ball bounces when it comes to technology. What's the next thing to go the way of the payphone?