Spare Me the Change

The Mona LisaI am a person who, in the main, embraces change. In fact, I am cuddling a nickel right now…

But seriously, ladies and germs, I am fine with things changing. If there is an improvement to be made, if the mores of the times shift, if there is more comfort to be had by doing things a different way, if life will be improved, or harm and strife averted, I’m on board.

I’m quite lucky, in that I have always lived in countries which were DESIGNED to handle change.  They were created of whole cloth–the governance of these countries did not just kinda get put together out of what was already there.* It was actually conceived of in advance of being put in place.  And nothing was deemed infallible.*  The whole thing was set up so there was recourse in case mistakes were made.  It was very very clever.  …didn’t necessarily work out that way in practice, but it was a swell try, and between that and the fact that the whole shebang is still very young, at least the IDEA that things will not be the same forever and ever still bangs around this continent from end to end.

Besides, a lot of stuff sucks, so if you’re kind of cranky like I am, change is a win-win:  You either get one less bit of suckage, or you get a whole bunch more to be cranky about.

So yes.  Change.  WHEN IT IS REQUIRED, a very good thing.  Not to be fought once it’s inevitable.  I’m on board.

But I am not going to say that I’m a FAN of change. That would be like saying I am a FAN of exhaling.  It’s necessary–done as a matter of course. But there’s no point in just doing it for the sake of doing it.  You’d eventually fall down, wouldn’t you?

Some people–the kind who believe there is an actual reason to eat the crust, so they do it even though they don’t LIKE crust–think that any change is good.  That change and challenge have some innate virtue. That they prepare you for something.

Well, these people are obviously goofy.

All change-for -the-sake-of-change does for you is make it harder to know when you’ve found something good–or missed it altogether.  Lots of stuff will change in your life.  Some you will want, some you won’t, and very little of it will you have a say in.  There is no need to force change upon yourself, because it’s all around you, and if you aren’t getting enough of it, you are simply not paying attention.

There is no innate virtue in change. Nor is there any innate danger. It’s in the way that you use it.

Which brings me, of course to the phone company. I live in an area which is just now changing over to 10-digit dialing.  We now have to use the area code when dialing a local number.  Oh BOY does this kind of thing make cities feel like they are all grown-up!  I remember when this happened in Vancouver, and it was just all the rage!  Over night, it was suddenly a world-class city, whereas the day before it was but a small fishing village on the Fraser River.  Good times.

Anyway, I am sure that this change was initiated for a good reason. People breeding or moving or whatever.  People are like that–always moving very close together or farther apart.  How the change was  implemented however, ends up being needlessly annoying to people who use the phone. Seeing as those people outnumber the people who implemented the changes, you’d think…

Well, wouldn’t you?  YOU WOULD THINK!

There are now TWO area codes that share the same area: 402 and 531.  402 is the old one, and contains an overwhelmingly greater percentage of the numbers.

Here’s what currently happens when you live in the area and you dial a number without the area code:  A recording of a slightly peeved dude (who really should have gone to bed a bit earlier last night but you know what?–he’s going to stay up and watch this movie, because it’s HIS life and dammit he could do that damn job in his sleep and besides it’s not like he’s ever faked calling in sick, or refused to come in on the weekend or even ever shown up late so screw it, he’s going to watch Three Days of the Condor because it’s NEVER on anywhere but TCM and he’s got like, 100 movies in his Netflix queue, and you know what?–screw it TWICE he’s going to have another beer too.  Whatever.  He just won’t shower and instead of picking up a coffee he’ll just drink that swill in the lunchroom.) tells you that you have to dial the area code.  Then you have to hang up and dial the number again with the area code.

Now, THAT is silly.     Here’s what would work better:

– Caller dials the number, and for whatever reason, does not include the area code.
– System checks if that number exists in 402 AND 531.
– If the number only exists in one area code, the call goes to that number in the area code
– If the number exists in both area codes, then the caller hears “This number exists in both the 402 and 531 area codes.  Press 1 to be connected to 402[number] or two to be connected to 531[number].”

One dial, a meaningful error ONLY if necessary, one extra key press ONLY if necessary, and we all get on with our day.

“But wait!” I hear someone screech “The system wasn’t designed to do that!”

“Oh.” says I “Well, THAT needs to change…”


Spam sez “A satellite phone gives you worldwide calling ability.


*Oh my WORD is there ever a big kettle of stinky fish being barely side-stepped here.  Believe me, I can smell it.  And if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, I completely agree with you (tautology much?). In the interest of brevity, let’s keep pretending we didn’t notice that, just for this post.   But I hear you.  I hear you.

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