Within the 310

Fellow 310 residents,

Today I share your pain, as from this day forth we must affix 1 + 310 to all our local phone calls.

Years ago amidst many protests we fended off the attack, but at some point with our backs turned the mighty powers reinstated the plan of the area code overlay. So now we share our no longer distinct zone with 424.

Eleven-digit dialing is annoying, but even worse, since my home number is blocked - displayed as 'private' - on certain calls I must unblock to proceed, for instance to pick up my voice mail messages or to call my sister who doesn’t want anyone sneaking up on her. At that point, I engage fourteen-digit dialing. Compared to poverty or dodging bombs or no phone service at all this counts as a small inconvenience, but it’s still worth a grumble.

When my phone company announced the date of implementation of the overlay last year, it recommended starting to dial the extra digits immediately, ahead of necessity, for practice, to get used to the chore.

Did any of you 310 dwellers heed that advice?

Why, may I ask, would you adopt an unnecessary practice ahead of schedule? This is not preventative medicine. It has no advance benefit other than sparing you an encounter with…with what? I don’t actually know. I assume some evil recording will come on when you forget to add the required extra numbers, but I don’t officially know.

Well, since as of today, 1 + 310 is no longer optional, it should be an easy test.

I pick up my phone and dial a 310 number without the 1 + area code. It goes through. As always. Glitchless. And I’m actually disappointed. In an odd act of reverse psychology, I’m now dialing every fifteen minutes wanting the recording or a horrid tone or any admonition for ignoring the rules.

Okay, I’m crazy but I swear the phone company has brought this on me. I’m normally a very even keeled citizen. I simply can’t believe that this date has been waved before me for months and months, and now when I just want to know what happens at the crossover juncture, it’s a mirage.

I breathe. I will be patient. The time will come.

And I remember my complaint. The overlay.

I already suffered at the hands of the phone company once – okay, many times; we all have phone company stories – with my personal farewell to 213 when Los Angeles’ original area code was split, my area code since birth. I made the transition and even learned to love my new area code.

But now arrives the overlay, a pain that only subsides into habit. Like a permanent limp, it never goes away. You just get used to it.

Excuse me while I go dial.

UPDATE: I’ve heard the recording and now I can relax. If you want to hear it for yourself, invite yourself over. We can misdial together.

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