Phone Books

So, I have a complaint about the phone book.

Our local phone book is generally fairly excellent. There’s a combined white pages for residential and business phone numbers, which makes sense because this town is small enough for that sort of thing. There’s also an excellent directory cross reference, which I have used many times, like when I get calls from numbers I do not recognize. Or when I’m subjected to abuse on the phone from a number I called by mistake, for example.

There’s also a yellow classified section in the back, which is in theory supposed to list services by keyword. For some reason, I always struggle with the yellows, which is funny since search engine optimization is actually a pretty major part of my job, so you’d think that I would be good at keywords. Yet, I never seem to come up with the right term for what I’m looking for, and then I spend an hour trying to find what I need on the internet, looking for various combinations of “search term fort bragg, ca.” Inevitably, I get a bunch of returns for Fort Bragg, NC, which I’m sure is a very nice place, but I don’t happen to live anywhere near there.

Today I was trying to track down the number of Lisa, my preferred hairstylist. Lisa is a goddess, and my hair is in need of her firm, yet gentle touch. The ends are split all to hell and it looks like ass, and Lisa is the only hairstylist I have ever gone to who has done exactly what I ask her to and no more. I ask her for trims, and she trims my hair, and she rubs this nifty hair oil in so it’s all glossy and shiny and soft and it feels great. She does not add unwanted layers, put styling good in my hair, or engage in any other unwanted activities. The only excuse I have for losing her number is that my phone experienced some technical difficulties and I had to flash it, thereby losing everyone’s number, and since I tend to write phone numbers on small slips of paper and then lose them, without my phone’s phone book, I was basically fucked.

I want a haircut, I rationalized, so I should look for “Hair.”

I tried “Hair,” “Salons,” and “Stylists,” all to no avail. In despair, I turned to my friend T.

(4:25:04 PM) meloukhia: Ok, so I am trying to look up hair salons in FB in the phone book, and I don’t seem to have the right keyword, or what have you. I’ve tried hair, salon, and stylist, but no go. Any suggestions?
(4:26:32 PM) T: Beauty Salon?

How does she know these things? It’s like magic! Lo and behold, Beauty Salon is the magic password, and I was soon viewing a list of my options. But this did raise the question for me of why I seem to struggle with keywords so much. I feel like every time I try to look something up, the phone book rebuffs me. It’s also becoming a running joke among my friends, who seem to think it’s amusing to challenge me to find a number in the yellow pages.

This being a small town, the internet isn’t always a great resource for this kind of information, because a lot of folks aren’t savvy about advertising themselves there. If I’m lucky, sometimes I can find a business in online phone listings, but not always, especially if it’s a small business like Lisa’s. This makes me want to track these people down and offer to build web pages for them.

Lisa’s number, incidentally, is 961-0808, and she’s a very popular lady, so be prepared for a wait. But it’s worth it. It is so worth it.