410 East 65th Street

By Gerard Exupery

Whatever the reason, my telephone fell off the wall regularly, and I used tape and gum to effect repairs. When the handset gave up, I used my stereo headphones for the receiver. The phone wouldn’t ring anymore after I hard-wired my cassette player into the thing.

I had my reasons.

Eventually, there was no other option but to call NY Telephone and avail myself of the free service call, which I had been putting off for 7 months.

So, the telephone repair guy comes by and sees what should be a telephone but isn’t anymore hanging on the wall by a push pin. It’s not as if I could polish this turd, and I was embarrassed.

There was a short pause before he said anything.

“What color do you want, red or black?” “For what?” I ask. “Your new wall phone, and I gotta go down to my truck to get it,” I told the guy that I had 10.00 in my life, and I was sure I didn’t have the money to pay for a new phone.

“Was there some sort of payment plan?”

“Have you ever had a phone in your name?” He asked, and I had not. “Well, it doesn’t cost you anything.” And after a brief pause added, “What you did to that piece of equipment, you shouldn’t be allowed to have another.”

I began explaining my performance art but stopped when I noticed him staring at the dick in the picture just to the right of the phone.

I had made the image for a media studies assignment, “The Body as Architecture.” I got an A.

“I want to take a picture of the phone before you take it,” I said.

NY Telephone man said nothing as I raised my Polaroid Pronto and took two snaps. I handed one to the guy and said, “Maybe show your buddies at work?” He laughed.

He moved to take the phone but dropped it, which caused the ringers/bells to break off the chassis and roll off somewhere…

My cats loved those things.

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My name is Gerard Exupery, and my website is gerardexupery.com, where I sell my books, exhibit images, and post stuff like this. My stories are 89% true, with only the names changed to protect the innocent.

 

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About The Author

By Gerard Exupery
I've been a New York City Street Photographer for 40 years, I attended the School of Visual Arts and studied with Lisette Model at The New School. I’ve worked as an oil rig roustabout, a photographer's assistant, custom printer, motorcycle mechanic, audio engineer, video engineer, associate producer, and producer. I also drove a New York City cab which I consider my post-graduate work. I have an Indiegogo Campaign for my new book: "Women Hold Up Half The Sky." Launching soon. My personal website is: http://gerardexupery.com
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Stephen Fretz on 410 East 65th Street

Comment posted: 06/01/2024

One of your best written, IMO. Love it.
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Alexander Seidler on 410 East 65th Street

Comment posted: 02/12/2023

Thanks Gerard !
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jim witherspoon on 410 East 65th Street

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

I agree with Tim ^^^ I opened this story in a tab this morning and have only just had a chance to read it. Brilliant, thank you. A moment in time, well remembered!
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Karen McBride replied:

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

.

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Gary on 410 East 65th Street

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
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Gerard Exupery replied:

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

I like that. To me that says the ego can be counterproductive to the creative process... at least mine.

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jim witherspoon replied:

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

Colin Chapman of Lotus car fame. The concept of 'adding lightness'

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Reed George on 410 East 65th Street

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

Awesome story and one-of-a-kind image, for sure! Ha.
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Gerard Exupery replied:

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

Thanks Mate!

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Karen McBride on 410 East 65th Street

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

You had me at, “my telephone fell off the wall regularly”. Thanks for a great start to my day:) karen
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Gerard Exupery replied:

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

I think I would like to do a book of stories about people whose telephone fell off the wall. what do you think?

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Karen McBride replied:

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

Go for it! You already have the photo for the book’s cover. Put me down for a copy.

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Gerard Exupery replied:

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

I've just started assembling everything I've written over the last couple of years in order to edit it. Because I'm going to put it in a new book which is going to be small 4x6,just short stories and some pictures to go along with it. Gex

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Tim Bradshaw on 410 East 65th Street

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

This is the single best thing I've seen on 35mmc in a long time.
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Gerard Exupery replied:

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

thank you Tim, that's much appreciated. it's just what my ego needed today.

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Murray Leshner on 410 East 65th Street

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

Those bells were brass. The color is I had a couple I took out of a phone decades ago but 'no pictures...so it didn't happen', if you believe the old cliche. I also had a really stressful tech support job in the 80's on 2nd shift where I broke 4 or 5 black phone handsets (not the same day). The black plastic was a Barbie (or Ken) color inside! The fix was easy...unplug the coil cord, Mark up the beige fractures in the plastic with a black permanent marker and swap handsets with one of the 1st shift desks that was empty at night. The swap was a helpful co-worker's recommendation. I think the marker touchup might have been my contribution. :@=
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Thorsten Wulff on 410 East 65th Street

Comment posted: 01/12/2023

So you went for the red phone, Gerard?
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