Tuesday, September 2, 2008


hen I arrived into this country in 1981, the two first American books in my new home were the Yellow Pages and the White Pages, handed to me by the telephone company's rep in Boston. I remember proudly placing them on a bookshelf, next to my favorite Russian books and other treasured possessions. These two thick volumes contained everything I might possibly need. Their reassuring presence held promise of connecting me to a new world, with all its unlimited possibilities.

Fast forward to 2008. It is strange that telephone books, these pre-Google dinosaurs, have even survived to this day. What is even stranger, is that they are still delivered en masse, free of charge, to the doorsteps of every residential and commercial address. Most often, the unopened pallets are moved straight into garbage or recycling pick-up areas, to be carted away a day or two later. If this is not waste, what is?

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