Alex Hughes — August, 2018 ….I had federal jury duty this past Monday and was expected to arrive downtown at 8 am. Unfortunately, I took a later than expected bus from my home. I slept too long! When I arrived, I was dismissed because I was too late. I actually was looking forward to serving on the jury panel. Since I was already in Downtown San Diego, I thought I would do some exploring.
Sometimes, I feel like a hick when I go into the big city. I look around with awe when I see the skyscrapers and the many attractions such as the Tall Ships or the Waterfront Park. What did surprise me was the lone payphone along the harbor. It was close to one of the docking stations for ships and appeared to be in rough shape. This was similar to the situation that many of the payphones in Vista face.
It was free standing with one of the glass panels missing on the left side. Looking through the empty panel, you could see that the other one had a few tags on it with a sticker with the word “Learnerz”: the “L” was in the shape of a pistol. The sign with the word “Phone” was somewhat hard to read on the side and was dirty; it seemed that there used to be graffiti on that as well. It was cleaned up.
When you look straight at it, you will actually notice that there is no phone book. The metal hook hangs empty at the bottom as if someone ripped the whole plastic case off. The front sign above the actual phone has been overwritten by a white tag. The phone does have a dial tone and the handset is still attached to the cord. This was not the case for the other phones that I saw in Vista.
The weirdest thing about this phone was the sticker that had the beat up chicken head on it. It was on the side with the glass panel intact. The sticker was white in the background and an angry looking chicken to the left. Some of his feathers had been ripped off. The tag says “Nogeip” The “p” at the end is backwards and the “i” has an “x” on top of it.
These payphones have taken a beating. Looks like even San Diego is not immune to the troubles that befall these relics of history.