There’s this rusty old ad on the side of a building on the beginning of Thiseos Ave, just where Kallithea, Petralona and Koukaki meet. It reads: “IWATSU Japan: Private business call centres”. There’s a picture of a rotary dial telephone like the one my grandma used to have; at this point, these apparatuses are only symbolically associated with phones — you know, like floppy disks are persistent symbols for “save file” but there are plenty of young adults who’ve never even seen a floppy disk, let alone saved something on one. It’s only a matter of time before other symbols will come to replace our current, outdated ones.
This sign always catches my eye as I drive down Thiseos from Koukaki. And I always think the same thing:
“It’s probably referring to internal call centres in businesses: ‘press 1 to call the HR department; 2 for reception; 3 to call the boss’ or whatever. I wonder, though… could it be referring to what we understand today as call centres? You know, Teleperformance and all that jazz?’
This play at 20th-century archaeology, the very thought, makes me the GenY-millennial equivalent of today’s kids who’ve never seen a floppy disk.
Ads like this, vestiges of the past, recontextualize everything around them, and make me think. I hope nobody takes it down, just so that many more generations of kids will come to wonder what the hell that thing on the sign is.