Will We Always Keep Our Cell Phone Numbers?


I have this friend; Bill; who was from Vermont (413…even though 413 is Western Mass). He moved to New York City (Brooklyn) in…early 2000’s sometime to become an actor. I haven’t been to hisMySpace¬†in a while but for years his profile read: “The Vermont Man With a Plan.” He has since become The Brooklyn Man Who Needs a Hand; still, he keeps his 413 cell phone number.

I grew up in Connecticut (203) and as soon as I moved to New York City (212, 917), quickly amended my area code identity to coincide with my new locale. That was almost 10 years ago. I moved into New York City in 2001, moved out in 2007, moved back in 2008, moved out again in 2009; still, my cell phone number has remained the same.

I work in a hotel in Westlake Village California and recently met a woman who was checking in for a few days as part of her larger relocation for a work assignment. As she was checking in she handed me her driver’s license; New City, New York (some 40 miles up the Palisades in Rockland County from Manhattan). When I commented that I had been from the area we shared some fond memories of the east coast. I queried for a phone number; “Yes, of course, 845…” 845 was an extension for cellular numbers in the outer lying areas of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York.

“Oh you’re going to have to get rid of that soon,” I commented.

“No, well, no,” she said as though she hadn’t even considered it. “This number is how people know me; so many people have this number.”

“Will your business keep you here for some time?” I questioned.

She stopped and looked up at me; appearing almost a little scared. “Well I’ll always be a New Yorker,” she said with finality.

It seems that, even more than we may realize, a cellular number is something of an identifier in this day and age. What’s explosive about them is that, for many of us, our cellular numbers were the first ones of their kind. My 917 number may have belonged to other people (917 was introduced in 1992) but it certainly hasn’t since 2001. While that may seem to be a pretty silly reason to keep something like a cell phone, still, we do. I’m not going back to New York to live anytime soon but I’m also not going to get rid of my cell phone either.

As we move into the 21st¬†Century and beyond so much of what we have is unoriginal. So in a way keeping something pure is our only way of holding onto something that may have never been anyone else’s. I wonder though; will my generation; the first generation of new cellular only area codes (get ready Manhattan; 929 is coming soon!); will we always keep these same numbers we’ve always had forever, just because we always have had them?

By susan