There used to be an easy way to beat the phone company. If you were going out of state, somewhere overseas, or anywhere that involved a long-distance phone call, you could create a code with your loved ones at home to communicate. Say you were driving to Colorado and you wanted to call when you arrived but didn't want to pay the long-distance phone bill at the hotel. You would tell your family before leaving roughly what time you'd arrive, then you'd tell them that you'd call once, let it ring three times before hanging up, and then you'd call again and let it ring twice before hanging up. Sure, you couldn't share the news that you'd hit a deer on the drive, but you could at least let them know you'd arrived safely. The downsides to this mode of communication are many, including that your family had to wait until the fourth ring to answer any call just in case it was you calling early. The only time this mode of communication might be useful these days is when you travel internationally, but it turns out that cell phone companies begin charging you the moment you turn your phone on. That's just one more thing cell phones have robbed from us.
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