D’you remember when we just knew phone numbers?

Back in the day, I knew ALL the phone numbers. I did.
I used to have family and friend’s telephone numbers in my head. I wasn’t alone; you just did – you didn’t want to have to pull out the phone book when you wanted to ring Miranda and see if she fancied going down town (“meet outside WH Smiths, yeah? yeah. Bye!” – you just knew her number (to bash out, number-by-number; no speed dialling, obvs). Along with the numbers of your entire group of friends, your whole family and the doctors, vets and school.
And if it was a business you were after? Well, the weight-lifting workout that was the yellow pages was the answer. Remember how people used to call their business AAA, or Aardvark Double Glazing, just to make it to the top of the Yellow Pages? Same principle as we all want to be top of Google these days – only they you could buy it with a few carefully placed A’s.

Of course, if you happened to need someone new’s number, what did you do? Well you looked them up in the phone book of course! I admit it – I used to sit and look at the phone book. It fascinated me. All Those People. All those names. And such a thrill to find the people I knew in there. Oh, look! Aunty Joy is listed at her actual address! Amazing! I know, small things…

Now, though? Well, now I barely know my own mobile number. I know the husband’s as he’s had the same one for almost 20 years – back in the days when I was still learning numbers and tapping them out manually. But the son’s phone number? Not a clue. Though I text him daily.

And if I need to find the number for the lovely lady at the Home Ed group, how would I do that? Well… I’d have to ask potentially mutual acquaintances, probably. Or wait two weeks until I see her again. Or maybe just go prowl her village, and see if she happened to pop up in the park…

So I was amused that Whitepages telephone directory created this infographic, comparing the way we found someone in the 80’s vs today (particularly loving the idea of hiring Tom Selleck to track someone down!). Also – that 80’s font design feels so scarily familiar… definitely a touch of Smash Hits in there!

Image source: Whitepages – How to find someone with the edited Electoral Roll

So next time you’re looking for someone

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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1 Comment

  1. I was having this conversation a few days ago. Basically how reliant we are on our phones and technology. I know 1 phone number off by heart which i think is pretty shocking. Id be useless in an emergency.

    Ive learnt something new. I hadnt heard of whitepages before. I would probably facebook search. Pros and cons to being so easily found and contacted. Im guessing there is some aort of privacy and security available to stop our details getting in the wrong hands?

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