Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bzzzz. It's your friend from Missouri, who you met in college, and lives in your city now!

Has the universal use of cell phones made area codes more or less relevant? There was a day when people identified with particular area codes, perhaps more distinctly in urban and ultra-rural areas of the country. Are codes have been used to identify location and distance, signifying that a person belongs elsewhere. Sometime in grade school I distinctly remember the addition of a new area code in southern NJ. Suddenly I had to dial an area code to call my best friend. More recently, my wife only reluctantly changed her phone number from her hometown of Harrisonburg, VA to Baltimore with more than a tinge of nostalgia. 
Because we all have cell phones now, and everyone's number programmed into our contacts, it hardly matters what number someone has. It isn't so strange to not know the number of someone in your family, including your spouse. In this way, area codes are increasingly irrelevant and we move closer and closer to simply a 10-digit phone number that has no geographical significance. 
Then, a number pops up on your cell phone and you wonder "3-1-4 Who do I know from that area code? What area code is it." A quick Google search and suddenly you are reminded that you dear friend is originally from Missouri. Roots. Connections. We are not entirely done with our old ways. Just re-discovering them.

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