|The following is reprinted from Uncle John's Unstoppable Bathroom Reader book.
In the 1960s, some miners put a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Long after they left, the booth remained ... waiting for someone to call.
HELLO? ANYBODY THERE?
Miles from the nearest town, the old phone booth stood at the junction of two dirt roads. Its windows were shot out; the overhead light was gone. Yet the phone lines on the endless rows of poles still popped and clicked in anticipation - just as they'd been doing for nearly 30 years. Finally, in 1997, it rang.
The windows were shot out and the overhead light was gone, but the phone worked! (photo: Azfoo.net)
A guy named Deuce had read about the booth and called the number ... and continued to call until a desert dweller named Lorene answered. Deuce wrote a story about his call to nowhere, posted it on his website ... and the word spread through cyberspace. Someone else called. Then another person, and another - just to see if someone would answer. And quite often someone did. Only accessible by four wheel drive, the lonely phone booth soon became a destination. Travelers drove for hours just to answer the phone. One Texas man camped there for 32 days ... and answered more than 500 calls.
REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE
Someone posted a call log in the booth to record where people were calling from: as close as Los Angeles and as far away as New Zealand and Kosovo. Why'd they call? Some liked the idea of two people who've never met - and probably never will - talking to each other. Just sending a call out into the Great Void and having someone answer was reward enough for most.
Unfortunately, in 2000 the National Park Service and Pacific Bell tore down the famous Mojave phone booth. Reason? It was getting too many calls. The traffic (20 to 30 visitors a day) was starting to have a negative impact on the fragile desert environment.
The old stop sign at the cattle grate still swings in the wind. And the phone lines still pop and click in anticipation. But all that's left of the loneliest phone on Earth is a ghost ring.
So if the urge strikes you to dial (760) 733-9969, be prepared to wait a very, very long time for someone to answer.