Abbey scours the Yellow Pages one last time before retiring forever

I, Abbey Roy, as a journalist and event documentarian for posterity, feel it is my responsibility to record the end of an era.

Calm down, guys, I’m not giving up – but I’ve decided to never get a phone book again, and maybe I’m a little sad about that.

Background: For anyone under the age of Saved by the Bell and compact discs, a (n; archaic) phone book was once a encyclopedia dictionary textbook a gigantic anthology of phone numbers that one could use as a resource to get in touch with a friend or business.

Because back then – some time between smoke signals and TikTok – families had their phones mounted on the walls or sitting on their kitchen counters, and if you wanted to reach someone, you had to pick up the phone attached to your wall by a twirling cord and dial their seven-digit number. And if you didn’t know that number, you had to look in the phone book.

So every once in a while an update from the “Yellow Pages” (trademark) would come with a “ka-thunk” on the doorstep, and sometimes we’d use it to order pizza or find a plumber or weigh down a corner of the rug which was constantly rolling up.

But somewhere along the line, people started carrying their phones in their pockets, and the more that happened, the smaller the phone book became.

…And yet, it still came. And came. And came.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the phone book – all 7.5 ounces of it – but it will likely be the last.

When it arrived on the doorstep last week with the sound I imagine a butterfly makes when it lands on a flower, I gently picked it up and leafed through the pages, thinking about what ‘it was necessary to do. After all, a few twigs were sacrificed to create these pages, and it didn’t seem right to feature them.

Portrait of Abbey Roy

So instead, I browsed.

My final observations, to be noted for future generations, are as follows:

-It’s cute that “The Real Yellow Pages” (trademark) advertises itself as “The Original Search Engine” (trademark). It must be how those movie reels feel about “Avatar” or how cowboys feel when they go off into the sunset.

-Say what you will about the supply chain, it clearly hasn’t affected our local termite population, which might explain why exterminators are so well represented in this edition. Keep up the good fight, Banishers of Pests. The world needs you.

-I found a company that deals exclusively with protective pads “like at grandma’s”. This is information that I clearly would not have obtained by other means, and for that I am grateful to you.

– If you need to open a phone book to find someone to fix your computer, they will find you where they want you. Please consult your grandchildren before sending money, and I sincerely hope that your computer problem was not caused by the money order you sent to the prince of Nigeria.

-It turns out that there are still private detectives in the world, which made me discover a whole new rabbit hole. I have now ruined my phone’s targeted advertising algorithm for a week.

– If you dedicate a page in your post to tips for reducing foot odor and removing stains from toilet bowls, it’s time to rethink the long-term sustainability of your business model. Or maybe you already have.

-Finally, to the Cheryls, Davids, Michaels, Pats, Judys and Garys who make up the residential portion of my latest phone book and probably read this print column: I’m proud of you for sticking it out. You remind me of a simpler time, when a person was only accessible from within their own four walls. I look back on those days fondly and will remember my personal childhood phone number, as well as my best friend’s, for the rest of my life. You are rockstars and I think you are great.

Now I’m gonna drive this little guy to the recycling center and maybe bring a handkerchief in my pocket.

To chase.

Abbey Roy is a mother of three daughters who make every day an adventure. She writes to keep spirits up. You can probably reach her at [email protected], but responses are structured around bedtimes and weekends.

Calvin W. Soper