Sunday, September 12, 2010

Let Your Fingers Do The Walking...

A couple of weeks ago I came home to find a stack of new telephone books propped up against my apartment door. They were tightly packed in a yellow plastic bag and when I listened clearly I could hear them softly screaming, “Don’t leave me out here. Bring me into your apartment and let me fulfill my telephone destiny. Let your fingers do the walking over my tender pages.”

I glanced down the hall and saw yellow bags at all the other apartment doors. They looked lonely, yearning, on the verge of suffocating. I gently picked up the bag, coddled it, and carried it inside.

As a child happily ensconced in suburbia I remember the joy that raced through my husky little body every year when the new town telephone book would arrive. I’d immediately look up my family name, counting the number of families who shared my name. Some years the number went up and other years it went down.
When I first moved to Los Angeles and received my first telephone book I almost broke my fingers looking up my name. Oh yes there were others with my last name, and unlike my suburban town where they were all my relatives, this time they were non-relatives.

I thought about setting out to meet them personally, but life got in the way, and I never did do it. Now I search them on facebook.

But I cannot get myself to throw out the telephone books.

Every year I rotate the new ones with the old ones and toss the old ones in the recycle bin. The new ones sit on the top shelf of my hall closet where they live out their destiny. Occasionally I take them down and flip through the pages. And when I do I can hear the pages sighing happily.

Sadly the ones left outside my neighbor’s doors aren’t treated kindly. My neighbors kick them aside until the building manager comes along and scoops them up and tosses them in the trash (not even the recycle bin).

Maybe next year I’ll go door to door and pick up all the orphaned telephone books and give them a proper home.

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