We are doomed to be identified by numbers. Passwords, codes, PINs, addresses, telephones...
it is all a bit overwhelming.
And for us, in the 905 area code it will become just a bit more overwhelming. We will have the dubious honour of becoming the first to have 3 overlapping area codes.
Back in 1993, when numbers ran out for new telephones, the 416 area code, that included Toronto and the vast surrounding area, was split. Anyone whose postal code did not begin with a 'M' had to deal with a new area code of 905. This included the regions north, east and west of the city of Toronto. Why this region wasn't divided into a north/east and west/south split is a mystery, but obviously no-one expected the area to grow so fast. A scant few years later, in 2001, new area codes were introduced along with 10-digit dialling and the
voice of Emily to remind you every time you dialled. We now had, in Toronto: 416 and 647, and outside: 905 and 289. Now, the creation of 905 was quite a fuss, but at least the number fell into the usual rules of the area code - that being that the middle number should always be a '1' or a '0'. This new random numbering is not nearly so sexy. Or easy to remember. Or say quickly. Add 365 to the mix and confusion is bound to reign.
To be fair, the last addition wasn't nearly as traumatic and there doesn't seem to be nearly as many people (within my sphere) with the newer area codes and for the most part I don't even say mine as it is assumed to be 905 (or 416 if you are in Toronto) unless you say differently. But, it is forecasted that we will run out of numbers by 2014.
I am old enough to remember the old names with the two letter designation for the exchange - Howard, Oxford and Plymouth were the ones we used most often (that would be 46- 69- and 75- for any of you young 'uns out there). We had a party line for years. And the farm where I spent summers had the 2 long and 1 short ring (or was it 2 short and 1 long? or 1 long and 3 short?) I do remember how everything would stop until the rings finished so you knew if it was yours or not! Then there was the town I lived in where everyone had the same exchange, so you only needed to give out the last four digits of your phone number. You used to be able to tell where a business was located by their exchange number. Now you are lucky if you even get any phone number included in a business ad. Addresses went by the wayside a few years ago, most places giving out only a website for information.
A couple of years ago, I was shopping for a new phone book. I was rather particular - just lines for name and address and telephone. I really don't want or need a place for fax numbers or email addresses. One of my old books has a line for 'car phone' 'bus phone' and 'home phone'. Now I just want to find one that will leave enough space for large writing of 10-digit numbers with the '-' to make it easier to read. My cell phone does not have the dash so I get a too-long-for-one-line display of 6476776746. My brain can't handle that very well.