I tried to go out the front door this afternoon to retrieve my mail only to find it blocked with a telephone book. A few weeks ago, the same thing happened. And then it dawned on me–every few weeks the exact same thing happens. Sometimes it’s more than one volume, an entire encyclopedic set of phone listings and handy services. In the past, I’ve dutifully swapped the old book for the new, jamming the fresh one on the shelf in the Harry Potter closet under my stairs where it’s forgotten until the next round. The old one is packed off to the recycling bin, unused and unappreciated. Today, though, the wastefulness of this ritual hit me with full force. I’ve known for a long while that phone books are archaic; the Internet has rendered them useless–at least in this household. But, I have never done anything about their unwelcome arrival at my doorstep. Like Biblical plagues of locusts or El Nino summers, I suppose I thought there was nothing to do about them. Today, though, my epiphany inspired me to call the number on the front of my telephone book and ask the nice girl on the other end to stop sending them to me. And she said okay.
Easy as that.
I feel better knowing my share of paper will be reserved for the bound matter I truly care about, the stuff that will sit for a lifetime on my shelves and will see the inside of a recycling bin only when I’m cold dead and out of control of their fate. In their neat rows and stacks they will earn their regal yellow pages with the passing of time–instead of coming pre-jaundiced by virtue of some chemical alteration at the manufacturing plant.
If anyone else is interested in getting rid of their quarterly helping of smeary-inked pulp, go ahead and give the publishing company a call. It’s surprisingly simple. If you get the Verizon behemoths printed out by Idearc Media, their number is 1-800-888-8448. Or, if you can’t find your phone company’s publisher’s number or just don’t have the time to deal with it, you can go to this website and get these good people to handle the dirty work for you: Yellow Pages Goes Green.
It’s okay to let your fingers keep walking–maybe just restrict their strolls to the keyboard from now on.