Area Code DNA

Random conversation with a friend last night has me thinking… In my life I’ve had telephone numbers from Florida, New Mexico, Florida again, and then Charlotte NC… And then we reached the age in which telephone numbers could be transferred, so you kept a phone number when you moved.

Now I’m not so sure that I want to be stamped with area code 704 for the rest of my life.

Gone are the days where you HAD to change your phone number when you moved. Now, you can keep your old phone number, area code intact, on your cellphone when you relocate to a different part of the country. It’s become somewhat like your telephonic DNA — people look at the area code of your mobile number (which for many of us is the only phone number that is OURS, not our employer’s) and can immediately draw conclusions about you. You used to live elsewhere. You’re from such-and-such. It’s like a cellular social security number, that can (if you want it to) follow you around and be your most common identifying number for life.

The telephone number that I have now (on my mobile) is the phone number that I’ve had literally the longest in my entire adult life. I was in Charlotte for over six years, and I’ve been in New York City for a year and a half with that same Charlotte number. I haven’t bothered to change it because I never really knew how long I was going to live in NYC, and thought that I might at some point move back to Charlotte to work for my employer at its headquarters instead of from afar.

Now, I’m not so sure. I’m planning to get married, and there are talks (don’t laugh) of when and where we might want to raise children one day. I don’t know if that will be in New York — we’ve had serious conversations about potentially doing so back in my home town of Florida one day — but it’s very unlikely that we’ll be moving back to Charlotte anytime in the foreseeable future. I’ll visit a lot, but were I to move out of NYC it would likely be to go “back home” to the Sunshine State.

So do I keep this Charlotte phone number, and the area code that comes with it? Do I continue to identify myself, through my phone number, as a Charlotte person? Is that the identity that I want to convey?

I could switch to a New York number. Frankly, even if I moved away from New York, I don’t know that I would mind keeping a NYC number as a keepsake of the time in which I lived in the Big Apple. I don’t know that I’ll live here for the rest of my life, but I do know that it’s a magnificent city and I will always be proud to have been a New Yorker, whether for just a few years or for decades.

I could also switch back to a Central Florida phone number. Good old 321 area code, with an unspoken hat tip to the 3-2-1-liftoff era of my childhood living in the Space Coast, when both parents worked in the aerospace industry and NASA/Air Force launches were a commonplace part of my youth. If a person’s area code is really used to signify where they’re from, that would be a better marker of my origin story anyway.

I’d like to think that if I change my mobile number, this will be the last time. In this day and age, there’s just no need to continue starting fresh with a new phone number periodically. So if I’m going to switch it, I feel like I should make a meaningful switch and stick to it.

What say ye, GatorUptown readers?

One Response to Area Code DNA

  1. Would love to see you settle down in Cocoa Beach and get that “3-2-1” area code. Hope to be around to see that happen one day.

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