The other day our Number One Son was at the arena, where he spends most of his time these days whether he actually needs to be there or not. At first I worried that we were just dropping him off to watch his friends play hockey without being there ourselves but then I realized that one of the perks of living in a small town is that there is always someone there who we know and who will keep an eye on our son (that and he hasn't demanded his own phone "cause everyone else has one") So we'll know practically before he does when he orders fries at the concession stand or if he is talking to a girl. But the other day when he was heading over I thought I should ask him what he would do if he needed to get a hold of us. My husband jumped in and said that he could call us from the pay phone which is one of two left in our town. (The other is in front of the dodgy-looking motel where the Greyhound bus drops off passengers) This suggestion lead to a very interesting conversation between father and son, Baby Boomer and Generation Cell.
"You can call home collect," my Other Half helpfully suggests. Number One looks honestly perplexed.
"From the pay phone outside," his father continues. Now my son looks genuinely confused, as if his father is speaking another language.
"Huh?" is his reply.
My brave partner soldiers on with his explanation, "You just pick up the phone and dial zero and tell the operator you want to make a collect call to our home number."
Now my son is starting to smile, he's figured it out, his Dad is trying to punk him.
"Yeah, right Dad. Why wouldn't I just ask one of my friends or a parent if I can use their phone?"
He walks away smiling and muttering to himself, "Funny Dad. Collect call? Operator? What's an operator?"