Monday, May 23, 2011

My fingers don't want to do the walking.

Remember when there was only ONE telephone company? No?

Well, we oldsters used to call that company Ma Bell. That was back before cellphones and "deregulation". There were real operators, real payphones that took a dime for a local call, and you didn't have to dial the area code every single dang time. And there was a phone book. A massive phone book that was truly multi-purpose. Sure you could look up the number for the vet, or your neighbor across town, or find a plumber when your water pipes burst and sent gallons of water through the ceiling in to your grandpa's bedroom. That weighty tome was a booster seat for the toddler, an extension for a too-short table leg, a doorstop, or an instrument of instant death to an unassuming spider that had the misfortune to crawl into the bathroom unannounced. Yes sir. That was THE PHONE BOOK! White and yellow pages together, thank you very much.

These days in the "green" age, the "internet" age, things are different. There are more phone service providers and more phone books but they are all smaller, leaner, less all-encompassing. I am staring at four of them right now and not a single one of them would so much as frighten a flea. They are useless as booster seats. And most people have cell phones now or have their numbers unlisted so only the old folks in my neighborhood are in the one white pages book. The yellow pages are almost nothing but ads for heater vent cleaning and orthodontists, and if you're unlucky to have a major urban book, "adult escort services" (YIKE!).

You would think with the internet the phone book would have gone the way of the dodo entirely. I only rarely use a phone book anymore. I stick them in my car so if I have a breakdown I can look up a repair shop, or if I HAVE to go into the neighboring metropolis to procure something my small town can't provide. I'm not lucky enough to have one of those phones with an internet access plan to look things up on Google maps. In that sense I'm stuck between the analog and digital worlds.

Someday maybe I'll catch up, but in the meantime I have two "phonebooks" without a car to call home. Poor orphans will have to go the recycling orphanage.


Lourie said...

Phone books? Is that a book about phones? Remember needing operator assistance for long distance?

Patty Ann said...

Ha, I deliver thousands of them every year at the Post Office, so in my town, they are still going strong. I have only one. I got rid of the rest and only keep a local phone book in my desk.

Nicole said...

I have the same issue! I do not need several phone books and it seems every other month I am getting a new one. I do, however, keep one from my old town for addresses along with old ward directories too. I just recently moved to one of those smart phones (after my husband switched jobs here, the new place pays for his service and it was just as much per month to add me to his plan as it was for our pay as you go phone I had been using for years), but here is a neat trick to finding numbers on a regular cell can text google with the name of the business and the city and it will text you the address and phone number back. Send the text to 46645...I have it saved under GOOGLE in my contacts and taught my oldest how to do it so I am not texting and driving at the same time. That and the map in my driver side door got me a lot of places these last few years!