I know that I’m terribly late on my blogging, but life has been getting in the way.  I’m currently neck-deep in edits, busy with the day job, and still chasing the kid around, but I did want to take a few minutes to ponder some randomness for this week.

The Phone Book

For my edits, I wanted to look up the names of various local escort agencies. Googling “escort agencies Chicago” gives a variety of interesting results, but I was having a hard time really finding what I was looking for.  Before you go there (!), I was looking for the names of actual escort agencies to serve as an inspiration for the name of the fictional escort agency in my book.  See, totally harmless.  Anyway, I decided to look in the phone book.  An actual, paper Yellow Pages.  Somewhat surprisingly, I was able to find one rather easily.

As I was flipping through the pages, I was reminded of my childhood.  I used to love to look through the phone book.  There was both the Yellow and the White pages back then.  Each book was as thick as several volumes of an encyclopedia, and the smell of the paper would waft through the air as I flipped through the pages.  I loved looking at the colorful ads in the Yellow Pages for companies I had never heard of, some of them selling services that I didn’t completely understand.  The ink would stain my fingers as I turned the pages.  In the White Pages, I loved looking up our surname and the surnames of friends to see how many people there were with the exact same name.  I remember being surprised at not only how many people had our last name, but also how close they lived to us!

The fact that I was enthralled by the phone book as a child probably says a lot about me.  As a child, I was constantly making up stories, and seeing pages upon pages of names and businesses helped to fuel my imagination.  Who were those people? What were they doing right at that moment?  Did they know that I knew their names and where they lived?  What kinds of people were they?

It is strange how one reference book can spark an imagination, and I’m glad to see that in our increasingly electronic world that the paper phone book is still around.


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