Lessons from the good New Zealand book; the yellow Pages

Wellington's new yellow pages have listings of 18,000 local businesses.  You can also use the book to prop up the wobbly table.

Provided

Wellington’s new yellow pages have listings of 18,000 local businesses. You can also use the book to prop up the wobbly table.

OPINION: Every few days I take a sad trip out the door, along the path, and to the mailbox.

It’s sad because there is never anything beautiful in the mailbox. At best, there is a flyer from someone who wants to save my soul; at worst a white envelope addressed to someone who was also called Virginia Fallon, although I never opened them. They don’t seem friendly.

Last week was different. There, above the box, was that brightly colored harbinger of spring: the Yellow Pages. It used to come to the door, where the only best find could be a wrongly delivered Uber Eats or Hello Fresh, but I don’t care where it’s delivered, I’m just happy it’s here.

It reminds me of good things, and you can always do with a little of that.

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Nowadays, the arrival of the Yellow Pages is generally accompanied by criticisms of its place in modern life, and especially its impact on the environment.

Yellow NZ distributes 2 million books nationwide, with listings of 154,000 companies; Nationally, the book accounts for 1.2 percent of total paper use each year, a figure that is paltry compared to the 80 percent paper use that currently occupies our bathroom cabinets. in the form of stored toilet rolls.

Nationally, the book accounts for 1.2 percent of total paper use each year.

Stacy Squires / Stuff

Nationally, the book accounts for 1.2 percent of total paper use each year.

And anyway, the books are made from forest byproducts and are fully recyclable – not that that mattered in the ’80s when my enduring love for the good book began.

It was the days when the Yellow Pages were massive – at least six inches thick – and your whole town was listed between those sunny covers. As much as I like to tell younger kids about how independent and outdoor my generation was, the truth is we were stupidly bored and the Big Yellow provided much needed entertainment.

You would see all kinds of things while flipping through numbers for the video store, radio station, or movie theater. (Don’t pretend you didn’t know the chip shop number by heart.) There were maps you rip to take your bike rides, and even area codes for remote places like Auckland that seemed so exotic to little ones. -the children of the city.

There was also a lot of dirty information in there, and my group of friends spent many afternoons looking and pondering over the adult lists. I once called a 0900 number to learn “how to seduce a woman”, but since my mother was unaware of my Sapphic tendencies, my brother accepted the blame.

Currently my copy of the Yellow Pages sits above the microwave where it will stay until the next one arrives. It’s no use, but neither does the cat and I always keep it.

The right book is needed by a lot of people who let their fingers go, but even for those of us who don’t, it’s a good thing to have – something from the days when things were simpler. and, yes, happier.

Either way, there is plenty you can do with the Yellow Pages. You can use them to open the cabinet door the cat likes to sleep in or to support one leg of the sofa (tear them in half). You can use them to seat your laptop, so no one sees your chins on Zoom, or crush nuts with them. You can tap a flower, light a fire, or write bad poetry in the empty spaces around the ads.

Or you can just keep them because they remind you to be a kid looking for the number to beg the radio station to play your song.


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