When Old School Beats the Latest Technology

The place I was looking for was no longer there — and Google had no clue where it was. Time to go old school.

I badly needed a haircut. I always wait until I badly need one. It’s my nature, I’m a procrastinator. Especially when it comes to domestic duties, like chores, or keeping myself in decent clothes, or getting a haircut.

When Old School Beats the Latest TechnologyIt had been months since my last one. I get it cut pretty short, so it can grow out quite a while without looking too ragged.

Anyway, I made an appointment, and when the time came, I headed down to Trendsetters, the hair place owned by the nicest guy and best hair cutter in town, Michael Farnham.

Of course, I knew the address by heart, been there many times, in midtown Sacramento, at 1221 21st Street, near Capitol Avenue, just a few miles from my place.

Except, it wasn’t there. I mean, not just an empty building — no building at all! Nor was the building next to it there, the one on the corner that looked like it could have been a church once, but had been a real estate office for years. There was only a grass lot. Thing is, the lot looked like it’d been there for years, nice and neat, grass well established. It did not look like the site of a recent demolition.

I figured I must be remembering wrong. Maybe it’s the next block, or the previous one. I drove around it circles. “Wait a minute,” I thought, “I know it was here. I think.”

I thought I was going crazy. How could two buildings completely disappear this close to where I live and me not know about it? And I hadn’t heard anything about Trendsetters moving. Last time I was there, there was no mention of an impending demolition of the building. And when I made the appointment, no one said anything about a new address.

So, after driving around a bit, and with the scheduled appointment time looming, I stopped to get the phone number, so I could call. Here I confess — with the shame that those of us less-technologically-equipped can only know — that I do not have a smart phone. Hey, I’m old school. It took me years after phone booths started disappearing just to get a cell phone. But at least I had that, I just needed the number.

So I stop at a car wash. Surely they have a phone book. I stopped a hurried worker, who pointed to a baggie that had a freshly-delivered phone book in it, sitting outside their office. It looked like they were just going to ignore it, or recycle it, but luckily for me, it had just been delivered.

I looked up the business: the address was different! It said 2115 J Street. So I went there. Only, no Trendsetters to be seen on the whole block. OK, try again. I went into another business on the block, and asked for a phone book. Blank stares. “Phone book? Do we have a phone book?” the perplexed-looking young  worker asked another.

“No, what are you looking for?” answered another. I told him, and he Googled it. It came up with the old address, on 21st street, but the correct phone number, which hadn’t changed. I called. “Yup, we’re here on J Street now, it’s inside the courtyard by Tapas restaurant.”

Turns out, I was right there, their new store just wasn’t visible from the street, and they didn’t have signage up on the street yet. They are kind of hidden, down a courtyard that sits in the middle of the block. And the reason they hadn’t told me the move was pending the last time I was there? They didn’t know. They got a notice to move in thirty days. A few days after they had vacated, there was no trace of their building, or the one next to it.

Now, if they hadn’t had a land line, I probably would not have gotten to my appointment on time. It’s only because they did that the phone company had updated their address in the new phone book, which had directed me to the proper location.

But Google? Google did not know. Many months after they had moved, no one had yet notified Google, so the great Oracle of our times had no clue! In this instance, it was not the up-to-date storehouse of information it’s cracked up to be. The lowly newsprint phone book had it beat.

I tried looking it up in other online directories like Yelp, but none of them has it right yet. It was only that great database of yesteryear, the phone book, that had the correct, updated information.

Good thing, because I was about to give up in despair, miss my appointment, and continue on as a ragged-haired, scruffy old-school fifty-something with no smart phone (which would not have helped anyway), who thought he was going insane.

By the way, if you’re looking for Trendsetters, the exact address is now  2115 J Street, Ste. 102-A, 95816. Tell Michael the old school phone-book-user says hi.

James Israel
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