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Telephones

  • When a telephone rings, the average man settles deeper into his chair with the observation, 'I wonder who that can be?'

  • Remember that as a teenager you are at the last stage in your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you.

  • The telephone is a good way to talk to people without having to offer them a drink.

  • As for voluntarily using the telephone in the morning, I no more think of it than of using my great-grandmother's spinning-wheel. Not that a telephone need be a real interruption to one's work, but then it almost always is.

  • At the end of every year, I add up the time that I have spent on the phone on hold and subtract it from my age. I don't count that time as really living. I spend more and more time on hold each year. By the time I die, I'm going to be quite young.

  • I have a hold limit that I've set for myself. I hold until I start to imagine myself killing the person on the other end. Then I hang up and regroup.

  • I have always been allergic to telephones. As far as I am concerned, they are very seldom time-savers and very often the destroyers of schedules.

  • ... there is no noise louder than a silent phone.

  • The people in my house always think if you're talking on the telephone it is their chance to engage your other ear, without your being able to talk back.

  • The telephone exercises a terrible tyranny on most of us.

  • Hello there. I'm out social climbing, but if you leave your name and number and if you're anybody, I'll get back to you.

  • Dying's not so bad. At least I won't have to answer the telephone.

  • Aunt Mimi possessed a horror of silence, which she battled with endless chat. The Typhoid Mary of the Telephone started her calls at 6:30 each morning.

  • Unlike a scheduled visit or a letter you can read at your leisure, a telephone call is always an interruption.

  • Hi, this is Sylvia. I'm not at home right now, so when you hear the beep ... hang up.

  • It is not rude to turn off your telephone by switching it on to an answering machine, which is cheaper and less disruptive than ripping it out of the wall. Those who are offended because they cannot always get through when they seek, at their own convenience, to barge in on people are suffering from a rude expectation.

  • Screening telephone calls with a receptionist or the humbler answering machine is not a dishonorable thing to do. The warmest people in the world still need uninterrupted time to attend to their lives and should not be outwitted if they have made it obvious that they are not always available upon summons.

  • Is this the party to whom I am speaking?

    • Lily Tomlin,
    • as "Ernestine," the telephone operator on Rowan and Martin's "Laugh-In" ()
  • Cellular phones have become so affordable that they are no longer a reliable indicator of a major Hollywood player.

  • ... there are places where you should never ever use your cellular phone: ... any auditorium-like room with people who paid to be there (concert) or people who would pay not to be there (school play).

  • ... you see people putting on makeup or shaving while talking on the phone and driving their cars down busy highways. You also often see major accidents on the side of the road. Coincidence? I think not.

  • My dear father always said that when everybody had a telephone nobody would have any manners, because there wouldn't be time for them. And of course he was perfectly right ...

  • A watched phone never rang.

  • Never say anything on the phone that you wouldn't want your mother to hear at your trial.

  • ... by inventing the telephone we've damaged the chances of telepathy.

  • ... the telephone shone as brightly as a weapon kept polished by daily use ...

  • A ringing telephone is the insistent summons of modern life, and the decision not to take a call requires fortitude.

  • The interruptions of the telephone seem to us to waste half the life of the ordinary American engaged in public or private business; he has seldom half an hour consecutively at his own disposal — a telephone is a veritable time scatterer.

    • Beatrice Webb,
    • 1898, in David A. Shannon, ed., Beatrice Webb's American Diary ()
  • Perhaps the one comforting thought I got out of this whole disgusting affair was that over the years when the government was tapping my telephone, it must certainly have heard some home truths from me about themselves, often couched in good Anglo-Saxon terms.

  • A surefire method of setting up regular communication with your kids is to get a job in an office which discourages personal phone calls. Your kids will then call you every hour on the hour.

  • I've learned that by returning my calls between 11:00 a.m. and noon and 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. I can keep them short and to the point because people are either hungry and starting to think about lunch or they are trying to gear down at the end of the day.

  • ... the one who makes the call has more control over the conversation.

  • ... long distance calls also affect my vocal cords so that who ever I'm talking to thinks he has been mistakenly connected with the porch rocker.

  • Victor always liked to know that people had been trying to reach him. When you got more calls in a day than you could possibly return, you knew you were important.

  • We stay in the house so much because I am waiting for the telephone. I seem to be back in my teens, a period I thought I would never have to endure again: my life is spent hoping for things that only someone else can bring about.

  • Oh, how often I wished that Thomas A. Watson had laid a restraining hand on A.G. Bell's arm and had said to him, 'Let's not and say we did.'

  • The greatest sex toy ever invented may be the telephone. Sometimes there's nothing more erotic than a disembodied voice, no question more tantalizing than a whispered 'What are you wearing?' Especially when you can make up the answer. On the phone your hair always looks great, your legs are always shaved, your worst pair of underwear becomes a silk negligee.

    • Meghan Daum,
    • "Long-Distance Love," in O: The Oprah Magazine ()
  • Nowadays, it is possible to perform various forms of Low-Impact listening via the telephone. The advent of technological advances such as computer games and online services (like ones that let you check stocks) have enabled Low-Impact listeners to endure family phone calls much longer than in the past. Dangers include mouse clicks, heavy typing, or a sudden loud buzzer that goes off when you have finished Boggle.

  • ... in the manner of all humans, who are convinced the one call gone unanswered must be The Call, the hot-line from the Universe, Jury weakened and plucked up the receiver.

  • In Hell all the messages you ever left on answering machines will be played back to you.

  • In heaven, you get right through. In hell, they put you on hold.

  • There is no such thing as a five-minute phone consultation, don't you know that? It's like five-minute sex. They always want another one, and they never respect you for it.

  • I don't believe in e-mail. I'm an old-fashioned girl. I prefer calling and hanging up.

  • E.T., phone home.

  • I always find money in public phones — when I bring a screwdriver along.

  • ... all phone calls are obscene.

  • I waited / For the phone to ring / And when at last / It didn't, / I knew it was you.

    • Eleanor Bron,
    • "No Answer," The Pillow Book of Eleanor Bron ()
  • I don't know if anybody has ever linked the phone to the beginning of the end of civilization, but there's no doubt in my mind there's a connection. There's limitless potential for trouble in a device that allows total strangers to communicate in disembodied voices over vast distances.

  • If Michael and I ever divorce, I plan to name the phone as co-respondent. He is devoted to the telephone. He will drop everything to pick up a ringing phone.

  • It says a lot about your life what you have on your speed dial. I have two things on mine and I get them confused: the take-out chicken place and the suicide hotline. You don't know what it's like to be bawling your eyes out for twenty minutes and some lady breaks in, 'You want the nine-piece bucket or the twelve-piece bucket?' I don't know how many times I've called the suicide hotline to see what's holding my chicken up.

    • Joan Keiter,
    • in Michael Cader, ed., That's Funny! ()
  • Everybody is always after us to get a phone. We hate phones! ... if the phone company installed a phone for free and paid for a man to stand there and answer it for us, seven days a week, we still wouldn't want a phone!

    • Sadie Delany,
    • in Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth, Having Our Say ()
  • The very instrument that was supposed to be the greatest time-saver in our history has turned into the biggest time-waster. The telephone causes more interruption and generates more stress than anything else in our business environment.

  • Life without a phone is riskier, lonelier, more vivid.