It’s a clean parallel, the Cylon faceplate speaker on the left and the nod to halcyon roadside full-service stations on the right. They’re both artifacts: the old face of the future, and the old face of the past. This photo was shot at a second-tier gas station in my neighborhood. I struggle to imagine a scenario in which it would make more sense to hit this button than to walk the 15 feet to speak face to face with the attendant in the room with two refrigerators and assorted snacks — small and dingy as that room is. The idea of the attendant even responding to the call seems highly unlikely. I considered asking the man on duty if anyone ever used it, but he was too busy looking at his cellphone for me to want to interrupt him. As for the device itself, the chrome is clean and the casing shows little wear. For that matter, it shows little use. Whoever requisitioned this intercom had either a strong sense of purpose or a mistaken sense of proportion, perhaps both.An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.