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New England and Florida phone area code geekery

For whatever reason I've always been really good at remembering just about every phone number I've ever had, even though I'm allergic to mathematics (I sincerely suck at that.)

People hold their phone numbers near and dear to them, no question. In fact most people can remember how mad they were when the telecom companies started changing around all the area codes in the 1990s.

Prior to the 1990s, all phone numbers in the US had a middle digit of a 0 or 1. In many instances, most states had only a single area code. This was easy because you could easily identify a state simply by that three-digit code and nothing more. Population expansion and wireless phones changed all that to what we have now.

It is at a point where people really like those old-school area codes that have middle-zeros or middle-ones in them and will purposely seek them out. We seem to remember these better than others. Why I have no idea; we just do.

~ ~ ~

The first area code I ever had was Connecticut 203. This was back at a time when that code covered the entire state. Then in 1995 a new overlay was introduced, 860. Everybody hated this and most people still do to this day. Whenever I see it, I think, "You got 86ed." It's just a crappy area code designation.

What's even worse is that 203 was degraded to only cover a tiny part of the southwestern corner, adding further insult because I swear, the state reserved 203 for the super-wealthy only. This made the rest of the state residents feel like crap. And yes it did have that much of an impact.

Two more codes are coming for The Constitution State, 475 (which is already somewhat in effect) and 959.

In Massachusetts it was really easy to figure out where you were calling as it had three area codes for the longest time, that being 508, 617 and 413. Boston area was 617. Everybody else I knew was 508. I never had to call 413 because I didn't know anybody in that part of the state.

In MA there are currently nine area codes. Yikes. The days of remembering what area code goes where are long gone.

Rhode Island, thankfully, still has a single area code, 401.

Maine also has a single area code, 207.

I don't know anything about New Hampshire or Vermont as I never called anybody there.

If I ever lived in CT again (which I don't plan on doing,) I would purposely go for a 203. The way I'd do it is somewhat ridiculous. First I'd sign up with a Vonage account, specifically seek out a 203, register it, transfer the number to a cell phone after that, then cancel Vonage. It's an ass-backwards way of doing it, but it beats fighting with the local Telco who will outright say "NO" if you request it. You can only get your 203 in other parts of the state if you registered it thru another service first and have a phone carrier transfer it (which they are required to do by law.)

~ ~ ~

Florida has a whopping total of 17 area codes. Yeah, way too many, right? Unfortunately that's the way it is.

There are certain ones that are better than others. I'll start with mine.

The area code I have is the very old-school 813. This is the second area code ever introduced into The Sunshine State, so I can claim bragging rights on that. 🙂

Locals here hold 813 very dear to them. In fact they sell baseball caps that say 813 on them, to say yes, "I live in the 813." I might even buy one in the future. The 813 code is also the only area code in FL history that has a middle-one in it.

My father's area code (he also lives in FL) is 352. Doesn't sound like much, however there is some cool-factor to it. 352 spells FLA on a phone keypad.

The other area codes of FL that are worth going for are the following:

321 - This is the easiest area code in America as there isn't any 123 (or any area code that starts with 1 for that matter.) This covers the Orlando and surrounding areas.

386 - Geeky area code representative of the Intel 386 CPU. Covers Daytona Beach and surrounding areas.

305, 407, 904 - These are all old-school codes because of middle-zeros. 305 Miami-Dade is the oldest in the state and at one point covered all of FL, 407 is Orlando, 904 is Jacksonville.

Concerning the 813 I have now, I'm definitely keeping it. Even if I moved over to Pinellas County I'd just transfer the number because all they have currently is that craptastic 727.

~ ~ ~

My suggestion for anybody is to purposely seek out a middle-zero or middle-one area code - especially if it counts for what that number used to cover. The old-school nature of them really clicks with people and makes your number more memorable.


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