Fun Fact 002: Paris Telephones from the 70's

Today's FF comes from one of my lit classes, where we are reading Marguerite Duras' "Le Navire Night." Reading Duras is a little like trying to watch an artsy short film festival while drunk. Really drunk. You can sense there's something amazing going on, but you can't even remember the main character's name (which, chez Duras, is usually just a letter. Like "F.")

In any event, two characters somehow meet each other over the telephone in this text and it wasn't very clear how until our prof explained it to us today. Apparently in the 1970's in Paris, there were "holes" in the phone company, which is to say that every number was attributed to a person or family, but three or four phone numbers were mathematically left out of the list. Which means that three or four phone numbers in all of existence were not attributed to anyone and therefore if you called one of these numbers, you found yourself connected for FREE to anyone else who had called that number as well. So of course, this gives way to lots of chance meetings and phone sex and people who say they're women when they're really men, etc. The two characters in "Le Navire Night" met on this phone-line situation and the BEST part of the class was when the prof admitted that he knew all three numbers when he was younger. And he knows all of this back-story because MARGUERITE DURAS was his freaking THESIS DIRECTOR!

What we can learn from this is that:
1. My prof was probably having a lot of phone sex in the 1970's.
2. My prof was possibly having phone sex with Marguerite Duras in the 1970's.
3. My prof is the shit.


Anonymous said...

I love those Fun Facts!

Three observations:
- I didn't know anything about those phones (in my defence, I wasn't born then);
- Have you read "Moderato Cantabile"? I studied it in high school... I think it's fair to say the whole class hated it. It's basically the same chapter, eight times over. Without any ending. And of course, not much happening in between.
- Phone sex with Marguerite Duras??????????? You want to give us all nightmares?


jowdjbrown said...

You have done a great job on this article. It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you.
0800 call forwarding

shanu said...

The main reason why I am so looking forward to see Paris is because I'm going to a place my father loved. I'm not sure how it's going to feel to be there but even thinking about it makes me a little bit emotional. SEO Package Reviews

jowdjbrown said...

I have heard still some mobile companies charge for dialing 0800 numbers in UK. Is that correct ?

hk solution said...

I have heard still some mobile companies charge for dialing 0800 numbers in UK. Is that correct ?