Area Code, Sweet Area Code

By MAGGIE MASTER The New York Times


JAY works in communications for a Washington think tank, but if you want to give him a ring, try Boston. Samantha studies international relations in Dupont Circle, but you'll have to call San Francisco to find her. Michele has been a congressional aide on Capitol Hill for nearly four years, but ask for her number, and you'll be calling Starkville, Miss.

In a city known for its revolving door of young professionals, graduate students and eager-eyed Hill staffers, many a mobile phone number proves that home is where the cell is.

Like a rear-windshield decal or an old college T-shirt, a cellphone number has become as much a part of an identity as a Social Security number. It represents a hometown, a college or a first job, and such memories are not casually thrown aside for a few good years with a 202 romance. For these area-code clingers, those 10 little digits provide a constant in the face of changing locations and uncertain futures.

And, hey, it's great small talk.

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Monty Solomon
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