The Iconic Red Phone Box

I've been thinking a lot about my first year living in London as I work on my book based on this experience. There was a very sad episode (which has definitely made it into the book), that took place on the Fourth of July during that first year.

It involved a call home to my family, who were all gathered together at our lake house, and they passed the phone around to all say hello to me. By the time the phone made it to my Uncle Doug, who I think was the last person to come to the phone, I was hysterically crying. But the weirdest part of this story is that I made the call from a red phone box with a calling card because I was at a party that day -- in Richmond, of all places. (It was this century, I promise.) 

So you can imagine my shock when during last week's bank holiday weekend the Hub and I took our new bikes to Richmond for a ride along the river, and on our way back, right before we crossed over Richmond bridge, I stumbled on what I think was that phone box, right in front of me. It must have been one of the ones that got saved -- it's so rare to actually see them these days. 

And I had just been reading that scene that very morning, even though I had written in months ago. Talk about foreshadowing.

If you had told me back then, when I was on the phone crying, that my future self would eventually be riding by and would no longer feel like the loneliest person in the world, I would not have believed you. 

It made me think about the way life works like that. When you're down in the dumps and things feel like they will never get any better, maybe it's good to think about those times when things were really rough and how they eventually passed. How you hung in there and felt sad or scared or jealous or embarrassed -- and you had to go and cry in a phone box -- but then things were O.K. again. 

Who knew a little bank holiday bike ride along the Thames could be so philosophical?


  1. All the migrants I know have a string of "red phone box" moments... mine include a train from Victoria to Croydon, the parking lot of the DMV in Virginia, and a Barnes and Noble cafe... ;)

    1. It makes me -- and many other expats I'm sure -- happy to know we're not alone. And I'm sure there are lots of non expats who have cried in DMV parking lots!! Thanks for reading and stopping by :)


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