Phone Booth (Object Lessons) by Ariana Kelly:
Outside of the church, various species of confession occur in therapy, autobiography, and in conversation, but it remains, in the words of Foucault, “a ritual that unfolds within a power relationship, for one does not confess without the presence (or virtual presence) of a partner who is not simply the interlocutor but the authority who requires the confession, prescribes and appreciates it, and intervenes in order to judge, punish, forgive, console, and reconcile. . . . For me, confession of a kind occurred in a dirty phone booth in New Haven, a city I had not found to be a haven at all. The phone booth preserved the anonymity of my disclosures, even when I was speaking to the people who knew me best. The invisibility, however nominal, is what made the admissions possible. The space simultaneously consecrated the exchange and maintained my distance from everything that had driven me to it: opportunities lost, failures sustained—the accumulation of the person I had somehow come to be.