Numbers! Theyâ€™re beginning to give me a Case of the Ass.
New Jersey is 46th out of the 50 states in terms of size. Hell, itâ€™s 166 miles long and 57 miles wide. You can drive (at 3 a.m., when most folks are sleeping) from one side of the state to the other, (north to south, or east to west) on a 24-ounce coffee. And yet, we have so many people packed into the Garden State that we have nine farookinâ€™ area codes!
For example, my doctor (Doctor Doctor) is perhaps two miles from my home â€“ different area code. Take a ten-minute ride on the Parkway North and you can sail through two area codes. Turn west for ten minutes â€“ new area code. So, while a good portion of the country only has to deal with seven digit phone numbers, invariably we have to remember 10 numbers. And, to make matters even more confusing, the area code assignments are only roughly geographical. As such, we often wind up making our best guess of the area code, which is all-too-often incorrect. â€The number you have dialed â€¦ .â€
The states with the most area codes are California and Texas, with 25 and 24 area codes, respectively. Now, thatâ€™s a helluva lot of area codes, but those are some seriously BIG states, each of which contains lots of cities with lots of people. New Jersey, by comparison, has the same number of area codes as does Massachusetts and Illinois.
The people who live in the following fourteen states only have to deal with one statewide area code:
West Virginia and
I guess there are just not that many people to talk to in those parts.
I remember when New Jersey had NO area codes. Quite simply, there were enough seven-digit phone numbers to go around. That was when not everyone had a phone, and many of those who did shared a party line. Individual businesses didnâ€™t have multiple phone numbers, and fax machines and cell phones hadnâ€™t yet been invented.
Now, damned near everyone has a home number, a main work number, a direct work number, a fax and a cell phone number. Throw different area codes into the mix and itâ€™s enough to make a guyâ€™s hair hurt.
Obviously, staying in touch comes with a price.