An old school way to contact someone recently became a thing of the past. No longer can you dial a 7-digit number, such as 867-5309, and expect to reach your friend down the street. Area codes are now required on most outgoing calls, even if you are just calling your spouse who is in the room next to you.
Big change? Not for me.
The last time I remember using just 7 digits to call someone was when I still lived with my parents and they had a landline phone attached to their kitchen wall. For the past 17 years it has just been second nature to insert the area code followed by xxx-xxxx. Perhaps I became so conditioned to it because I lived in different places other than my hometown that it was simply necessary to do. But in all seriousness, I thought 7-digit calling went the same way as pay phones many years ago.
To be honest, area codes have become such a point of pride for many geographic regions that I don’t know why people didn’t gleefully use them at all times even when 7-digit calling was still available. I guess saving the nano second of time it took to dial three extra numbers was worth more than paying homage to your roots.
On a serious note, the reason for the recent demise of 7-digit dialing is a sound one. It will now streamline calls to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. To reach this emergency service, one just needs to dial 988. There are numerous states around the country that use “988” as the first three digits in their 7-digit phone numbers (think 988-1234 or 988-9876). If you tried to call someone at one of those numbers without using an area code, you would connect yourself to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
Has it been years since you didn’t use an area code? Do you have a shirt or other accessory that has your home area code printed on it? Let me know and please remember that is all about the 5-0-9. Don’t Blink.