Your grandma probably has/had one of these contraptions to the left. Your mom, too.
A phone book. Filled with years worth of family, friend, and neighborhood contacts and birthdays. Lots of inserts. Grandma handwriting. Crinkled, creased, browned pages. Always at the bottom of the purse or bag, with a ballpoint pen ready to add a contact.
A few weeks ago, a student and I had a good laugh when one of the "students over 50" pulled one out to write down someone's phone number she'd just met. We thought it was funny because we hadn't seen an address book in years. I mean, I haven't memorize a number, let alone written one down, in at least ten years.
Now. The laugh is on me.
I lost my cell phone. Some time between Sunday and Monday. Didn't realize it at first, until I wondered to myself, "How come no one's calling me?" Then I noticed, I couldn't find my phone. Not at home. Not at the office. Not in my car. Or anywhere in between.
So did the customary cancel service, order replacement phone, email close friends and family the setback and gave my Treo number. Luckily, most of my contacts from the other phone are retrievable and/or saved on some grand database. I didn't ask. I was just grateful.
But technology. It rocks. It sucks. It rocks. It's been cool, though, living a "quiet" existence, so to speak, without calling and/or texting folks so much. (You never realize how much you text until you stop for a day or two.)
The point. Maybe the real back up is not relying on a phone company to give you your address book. It's about putting it on paper.