I put 760-733-9969 as a permanent phone number in my phone a few years ago.. It is the famed (if you remember it) Mojave Desert Phone Booth.
For years now I have been remarkably fascinated by the story.. A phone booth, in the middle of the desert, the internet ,in its infancy, and all of that just coming together at the right place and the right time. The year was 1997.. and the strange Mojave phone began ringing off the hook after a website was created..
It continued through 2000. It was removed in 2001..
The line continues to exist today–it’s actually a weird conference call party line.
The phone number regained in popularity about a year or two ago with a Clyde Lewis radio program where he announced the number live on the air. The conference call was weird again, fun again.
I called today and the number was vacant. I was the only one who called.
I am still amazed it exists.
There is something so nostalgic about this story for me.. I remember when I was first online, back in the dial up days when everyone intelligently proclaimed their anonymity, I came across articles and posts on forums about this phone booth, or maybe in the over 18 CHAT1.COM rooms. Way back then I was too scared to call it! I figured if I did, some serial killer would tag me and figure out who I was.. I felt danger from it. It was a new world online, but talking on the phone with strangers? That was even weirder.. The fact that the phone number still exists in some form is comforting for me.
Sure, maybe there’s no lonesome phone booth in the desert. But there’s a working number.
When that number ceases to exist? The nostalgia ends.. the FREE WEB over.