Phone books in L.A. follow some confused backwater eddy of economics. A new one appears on my doorstep every other month or so, printed by a different company in a different format for a different portion of the Pasadena/Foothills/Greater Metro area. They make a nice ergonomic adjustment for my monitor, but beyond that I never use them – I have an irrational antipathy towards telephones, and besides, the internet has all the important phone numbers anyway.
However, if you actually need a phone book—let’s say you have gone to see the highly entertaining Pantaleon y las visitadoras at a local yuppie mall, and returned to your car to discover that your keys were locked inside (with the car still running!)—you’re in for a fun surprise: phone books don’t come in modern yuppie pay phones. Perhaps in a poor part of town you’ll find a bedraggled phone book with half the pages missing, but in a yuppie mall the pay phones will be sleek and shiny, with no room for accessories. You will have to walk a few blocks to invade the Hilton lobby – hotels always have phone books. Then you will be able to call a locksmith, who will come and break into your car for you, and on the way out of the parking lot you will scrape a fender on some hideously painted concrete pillar. Ooops.