Search is the metaphor for the internet age (Stark, 2009). Google’s a verb, and you can access the world from your smartphone. And so who has any use for the fat, heavy paper directory, searchable only in the sense that entries are organised in alphabetical order? Well, someone still wants and needs it, and someone else will deliver it to their door.

I walked past here a while ago, and amused myself – if not my companion – by pretending that whoever lived at this house was a very active user of the telephone.

phone books

This was just a weak joke on my part. These are to be unwrapped and delivered, and someone was going to deliver them. Are they safe outside? Well, no-one’s going to steal something that they’re about to be given for free, are they? And it probably wont rain.

I didn’t meet the person who pushed one through my letterbox that week. But a day or so later, I saw the fruits of their work elsewhere in the neighbourhood, neatly propped up, too big for the letterbox.

phone book delivery


1. Stark, D. (2009) The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life Princeton University Press.