Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dubious distinction

Thanks to sitemeter, I learned that if you do a google search titled "Eyes sucked out with vacuum cleaner" this site is at the top of the list of what comes up.

Goodbye, I tried to stay with ntelos as our internet provider, but the portable broadband they offer was endlessly frustrating, and our request for DSL ended up in limbo for two months. We've switched to embarq DSL, and have had to give up being --our email addy since 1998—and join the crowd at earthlink. Once Cornerstone Networks was bought out by Ntelos, and “” email servers dwindled away, I felt our address had a certain distinction—I imagined it as the internet equivalent of arriving on the Mayflower. Alas, nothing lasts forever.

Which reminds me of telephone exchanges. Have you ever wondered what your telephone exchange says about you? This is something I first contemplated when I was 10, and my family moved to an outer suburb of Buffalo, NY. Our new phone number started with '631'. The city and the closer-in suburbs, such as the one we moved from, all had exchanges starting with '8'--we had been '835'. I was the new girl in school, and exchanged phone numbers with another new girl whose exchange was also '631.' My cousin, who'd lived in that town for her entire life, had a phone number that started with '688.' Suddenly it seemed that all the cool kids had phone exchanges that started with 688 or 689, rather than 631 or 634. We 631s were parvenus: greenhorns of the world of cul-de-sacs and brand-new colonials. And so began my mini-obsession with the first three digits of one's phone number.

When I left home after college—fleeing Buffalo's suburbs for a studio apartment in the hip Colonial Circle neighborhood near the Elmwood stip on Buffalo's west side (photos included)—my phone exchange was '885.' Any phone number starting with '88' designated the desirable areas around Delaware, Elmwood, and Richmond Avenues, plus the lower west side and the arty Allentown neighborhood. 885 was OK, but I thought 881 was hipper. To me, '885' said, “recent emigre from the suburbs” and 881 showed a lifelong city dweller. Funnily enough, I actually met someone who shared my obsession. He was outraged by his '881' phone exchange and wanted '885' or '883'. He told me, “881 is a west side dirtbag who fixes his car in the street in front of his house.”

I lived in that neighborhood, in three different flats, for much of my adulthood before moving to Charlottesville. Shortly after getting married, we lived in Kenmore, NY (877) and then Kalamazoo, Michigan-- 383—but then returned to the west side and an 885 exchange.

As soon as we arrived in Charlottesville to look for a house, I recognized that the old-timey phone numbers all began with '295' or '296.' We were assigned a '984' exchange, which to me screamed, “just moved here from New York,” which we had. I've come to terms with 984, but I think I'll always miss a little.

1 comment:

  1. In the St. Louis metro area, there are so many phone numbers that there are three area codes; 314 and 636 on the Missouri side and 618 for the east side (Illinois). The codes have become lingo for singles identifying likely or not likely hookup candidates. A 314 lives in the city or county and looks pretty good. A 636 is OK but has a hoosier streak that includes a passion for NASCAR. A 618 is sporting a beer coaster tattoo, mall hair and an ankle bracelet.