Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Address Book Issue......or,........."On the Street Where You Live"

I've been looking for a new address book to replace my old one that I've used for more than ten years. The aged thing is black with little ABC tabs that help me find the right names inside of it.  When I got it, I wrote in all the people I know and love or am related to, with their addresses and phone numbers, in my neatest writing.

You know what happened.  People moved.  It's a hazard of having an address book, I suppose, but the folks just kept on moving!  I scratched out old addresses, and sometimes wrote new ones in.  More often than not, however, I just tore their return address label from a Christmas card and stuck it into the closed book, hoping that it would somehow alphabetize itself.  It didn't.

I carry my address book when we travel, so I could call someone if I turn up in their city, because I came prepared with their address and phone number!  Travel has one negative effect.  I buy postcards to send to friends. Invariably, there are leftover post cards stuck into the address book, too. The book swelled with the addition of hundreds (it seems) of torn-off address labels, post cards and of course stamps I put in there so I can actually mail things.  I think I saw some directions to a cottage in Maine, photos of my kids, and a brown paper bag that held a souvenir, tucked in between the M and N section, too.

One other thing that led to the outdating of my old address book is that people died.  For some reason I find it difficult to remove the deceased from my book. I still care about them.  I can't change their address, although once I did list "Heaven" as a forwarding address.  There will be at least ten blank spaces in my new address book, once I start copying names into it. It will be like driving by that place that used to have a magnificent old tree that got felled in a storm, though.  I will know that those names are missing, and I will "see" them there anyway.

Which brings me to the real crux of the "Address Book Issue," that motivated me to write this.  It is almost impossible to FIND an address book for sale these days!~  I suppose that all those young people with the smart telephones have their address book at their fingertips, and many have them on a computer, so they just print a label if they want to mail something.  Of course many people don't mail things anymore, so they probably don't even need the addresses of their friends and relatives.  They contact them in Cyberspace, so who cares where their real home is? They don't need to visit them. They can just Skype them.

I began looking several weeks ago, and spent a long time in a Staples store searching out address books.  They didn't have any at all.  I muttered while I shopped, threw my hands up into the air a few times, hoping that a salesperson would come along so I could berate the store for not carrying what I needed.  They avoided me.  I would have, too.

Today I knew that I either had to find an address book or I spent forty minutes in Office Max.  I have never seen so many little books for people to write into!  Every person in our country must be journaling, writing out by hand some profoundness each day of their lives!  Big, small, and even mini-sized versions of journals filled the shelves.

Not only are people apparently journaling like mad, but they are also PLANNING.  Oh my goodness, I have never seen so many planners! Humongous ones, tiny ones............planning for the day, the week, the month, the year, and the veritable life,  not to mention the wedding, can all be done with pen or pencil in an expensive planner!  This world would be so much better if those planners were actually filled with plans! (and if the plans were carried out, too, I suppose......)

There were some very small address books at Office Max, I confess, but they were so ordinary looking, and after having viewed all of the marvelous PLANNERS, I felt that my new address book at least needed to measure up to those. 

At last, my mind said, "Where do you buy a BOOK? At a book store!" So I arrived at Barnes and Noble, and located the "gift" department.  Giving an address book as a gift would never cross my mind, as I consider it to be such a personal item that no one could possibly choose just the right one for anybody else.

Barnes and Noble had a veritable FEAST of address books!  Several sizes, prices, colors, designs!  I was nearly giddy looking at them all!  Some actually had whole pages inside, filled with positive quotations and words of wisdom, so you could pause while looking up names and get motivated or wise.  I intuitively knew that I would forget the name I was in search of if I got waylaid with a quotation.

For a good fifteen minutes I played with the display of address books, then decided to go for broke and pay twenty dollars for a beautiful and LARGE brown leather address book that I could add pages to, in case I increase the number of people to whom I write or send cards.  I may not even need a page for the Z's, since the only Z I knew had a name change. (She actually changed it three times and moved half a dozen times, too...........a lot of crossing out on that name.....) I don't think I have any Q's either, but there are lots of P's and S's.................and I can use the pages I need and then buy additional pages later. I will also be able to see the addresses, since I got the big book.

I have to tell you, though, that the real reason I bought this gorgeous leather address book is because I have a feeling that in ten years, when it is time for me to rewrite you all, there may not be any address books at all, and this one looks as if it could be around for the rest of my life.

Technology has done away with so many things. (Some of them very nice things....)  My goodness, it's trying to kill the very books I read and replace them with those Nooks and Kindles.  Other peoples' phones can practically entertain them all day and night, doing away with basic conversation.  The address book has been taken over by email and "send" buttons.

I still cannot figure out why there were so many JOURNAL books, though.  Wouldn't you think that if we're so progressive that we don't write letters and need addresses, that we wouldn't sit down and write in a journal, either?  Or why not just put one's journal online, along with everything else????

Tomorrow I plan to get out a really good pen and transfer all of my people into my new and beautiful leather-bound address book.  I plan to keep a few of the no-longer-with-us folks right in there along with those who ARE with us.  (Some of those "gone" are more with me than some who are very present in reality, these days, in actuality.)  I will make a little pile of the torn off envelope corners after I copy them into the book, then toss them like confetti into the recycling bin.

 The first person who dares to MOVE and get a new address after tomorrow, though..............................

And those of you who are family members~~~~~~~~  I am planning to put my new address book into my will.  By the time I leave this planet, it should be a valuable antique, and the person to whom I leave it can tell people, "Did you know that this is how people used to know where other people lived?"

And somebody might say, "What a good idea!"

Copyright: KP Gillenwater