Thursday, January 22, 2009

Telephone numbers

It used to be that my telephone number was a great way to identify me. During my growing up years, our family only had two of them. The first one was only 5 digits! But then, things changed, and we got a standard 10 digit phone number, which I still remember well.

After that, I went through a series of phone numbers, roughly one per physical location. That was because phone numbers used to be associated with physical addresses. During much of the time I lived in France, I didn't even have a phone at all.

When I left Utah for California on October 31, 1999, I converted my physical phone number into a voice mailbox, and upon my return and buying a house in the same local exchange, it then became the number for that (new and different) physical location.

By that time, though, I had had a cell phone for some time, so I actually had two phone numbers. I managed to keep that same phone number through a number of physical devices and with two carriers.

Now, though, I have a different cell phone number, which is associated with a "family plan" with actually 5 different numbers. Besides that, there is our old "landline" phone number from where we used to live, in Orem.

And, just to add to the mix, our current home phone is actually a Skype phone. And it has its own phone number. The number is a local Salt Lake City phone number, but it is no longer associated with a physical location. Nor is it tied to a local exchange. Well, the phone number is, but our phone service definitely is not. That is, even if we moved to, say, India, the phone number would stay the same, and if you called it, we would receive your call in India (or wherever we were), and if we called you, your caller id would show the SLC number.

Well, long-winded post. And that's even leaving out why we would never have a landline phone again in Utah (because the company with the monopoly here has truly abysmal customer service). And it also leaves out why I think Skype is great (and gives us unlimited US and Canada calling for $9 a month, besides).

The whole point of the post is that a phone number is no longer a good way to identify me.

Various places of business (the doctor's office, for example) ask me for my phone number as a way to look up my account. That just doesn't work, and I always stumble around before replying. Because, which number do they have for me? My old local number that survived a move to California and back? My old landline number from Orem? My first cell phone number? My current cell phone number? My Skype number? My wife's cell phone number?

When did a simple phone number get so complicated?


Myrna said...

I need a Gizmo or Grand Central number. I keep forgetting to look and see if any in our exchange are available. So we can have a sort-of house phone, since all we have are cell phones. Yuppers, you can call Nancy and Andrew on their Utah number and if all goes well and the cables in the Mediterranean are intact, and they are home and not in Spain or Morrocco or something, you can call them in Cairo with that Utah number.

Kelline said...

I keep seeing your post "Telephone Numbers," and the song from Safety kids pops in my head...

I know my number, my telephone number, want me to sing it for you?"

Can't you hear the music too?

I think Jane Brady? is the author/composer?

I'll check with my mom!