We always hear, “what’s in a name?” but maybe we should ask, “what’s in a number?” 867-5309, 36-28-34, last 4 of your social please… I’ve never really liked identifying people by a number, so why do I find myself so attached to this phone number? Forever technologically behind the times, I didn’t get my first cell phone until sometime after I started college. And, like the thousand pairs of shoes that have touched these feet, so my cell phone carriers have changed, bringing with each a new number. However, this last number was the number I’ve had the longest of any, it’s been with me through 2 cell phone carriers, 2 apartments, 2 plus contracts, 4 cell phones (1 of which was stolen), and a multitude of late-night laughs & even later-night therapy sessions. I had been thinking about changing to a Macon number, but like I said, we’ve been through a lot together, this number and I.
Sadly, my phone decided to cease its digital duties. 2 ½ years is, after all, a long life span for a cell phone these days. My mother gave me a TV for Christmas, and I just had cable installed (for the 1st time ever!!!) two weeks ago. At first I thought, maybe I can’t have more than two pieces of working technological equipment at one time. Then, I blamed AT&T’s service. Finally, I consoled myself with Facebook and e-mail as means of communication to the outside world (thanks to those of you who talked back). Maybe it was time, after all these years, to change numbers.
So it was, I found myself at Kroger on Saturday freezing in front of the pay-phone (go ahead and laugh--I did), checking the last few messages I had with calling cards, and canceling my cell-phone service. Hanging up the receiver, I felt kind of sad--saying goodbye to a number I’ve had nearly 6 years. I began to wonder; although I don’t want to reduce people to a numerical identity, I did have a certain affinity for this phone number, because even though we are not numbers, they are a part of us—to some degree. A phone number is a lifeline of sorts, a source of connection to others, and the hope (when it rings) that we have not been forgotten (even if it is only a call to confirm a dentist appointment at 8:15 on Monday morning).
As this phone call is ending, new ones are waiting to be made. The phone lines are now open. First caller through gets to talk to me!