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Getting used to 10 digits

A few weeks ago, the state Public Service Commission approved a motion requiring residents in Georgia's 706 area code to dial the area code along with local phone numbers. The commission did this because they say we are running out of phone numbers.

I have two comments about this solution. The first: if everyone dials the same area code, how does this add any numbers? The commission did approve a new area code, but it is for "new numbers outside the 706 area code." So, my mind is trying to figure out how this is going to create more phone number options for new customers.

Unfortunately, when God made my mind, He didn't work too long on the math, problem-solving side. The only common sense I could make of the situation is that a government committee made the proposal, so it's not going to make sense no matter how we analyze it. Hopefully, someone on the commission was blessed with the numerical brain cells, and we will all benefit in the end.

In case you haven't heard, a voluntary dialing period will begin Sept. 1, allowing 706 customers to dial either seven or ten digits so they can get used to the new dialing procedure. Mandatory 10-digit dialing for all local calls will begin on April 3.

Second comment: It's my opinion that local residents are going to have a hard time dialing 10 digits. I've been here for two months, and one thing I've learned is that McDuffie is still on the four-digit system. It seems that every time I ask someone their phone number, they answer "1-9-1-8" or "5-1-5-2." At first I was confused by this, but have since grown to enjoy it. It reinforces to me the neighborly atmosphere of the city.

I have since learned that all of Thomson used to have a telephone prefix of 595. Evidently everyone became used to it, and this is what people are referring to when they only give me four digits.

Of course, when 595 numbers were all taken, then numbers beginning with 597 were added. Out of curiosity, I checked the phone book, and noticed many more 595 numbers than 597 numbers. I would give you the ratio, but will refrain due to the lack of mathematical brain cells previously mentioned.

A few weeks ago, at a Rotary Club meeting, I sat next to Lewis Smith. Mr. Smith is a CPA, so his mathematical brain muscles are strong. Mr. Smith informed me that one has to live in Thomson at least 17 years to be considered a true "Thomson-ite." Mr. Smith couldn't tell me a reliable resource for this information, it was just something he'd learned from living here. If what Mr. Smith is true, then I'm sorry to inform you that you have 16 years and 10 months more to hear about what I'm learning of Thomson. Please be patient. When I start giving just the last four digits of my phone number, you'll know I'm there.



Web posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005











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