Seeking NYNEX in the void

I was in the nowhere-place today, thinking nothing, which is to say that I was in the subway waiting, when I noticed this pair of ghost signs.

NYNEX was the Baby Bell that serviced New York and New England until about 1997, when it merged with Bell Atlantic. Its vast and quivering descendant is Verizon. These two signs were probably directly over a pay phone mounted on this column.

When I was a girl in boarding school, desperately lonely after leaving home or being left by friends, I crawled to a NYNEX phone: maybe in the alcove by the old baggage claim at Logan Airport, maybe in the basement of my dorm room where no one could hear.

It is certainly not that I miss NYNEX; no one, I can confidently state, misses NYNEX very much. But the sight of signs that are at least twenty years old reminds me of a day when there were greater distances between places, and yet, somehow, more meeting, more hearing.