Sunday, May 3, 2009

Slight identity crisis

6 6 2 2 8 6 5 2 7 1

Nope, that’s not part of my Social Security number. But those 10 numbers identify me more than the other nine ever could. Mostly because seven of the numbers have been a part of my life, well, most of my life.

When I was three years old, we moved to Corinth and 5271 became our phone number. Several years later, the phone company added the 6 to the number and before I was in high school, the 2 and 8 were added as well.

Throughout my life, I gave that number out quite often. In fact, I repeated that number so often that I honestly didn’t think too much about it when I stated it. Several years ago, I gave in and went wireless.

Four phones later, I’m still not totally comfortable with the number I was assigned. It still seems foreign every time I give it out as mine and I always second-guess myself and worry I transposed some of the digits when repeating it to others.

Like it or not, though, I now have to get used to my cell phone number since my home phone is no longer working. I’d been saying for months that I should disconnect my home phone number since I didn’t use it that often. But, for many sentimental reasons, I couldn’t bring myself to actually call and tell AT&T to turn it off.

Finally doing the math, though I realized that a little over $400 a year was a fairly high price to pay for sentimentality. So the person who rages against change called up and made a pretty major change in her life.

As silly as it sounds, I really wanted to cry after I made that call. In time I will appreciate the extra funds in my bank account, but right now I feel a little raw about it.

Most likely, that sentimental feeling about something that’s seemingly trivial as a telephone number probably is enhanced by the time of year I chose to disconnect my service. Having telephone service was very important to my mother. She called herself a “homebody” and I honestly think she enjoyed that role. Besides going to church each Sunday and Wednesday night, going grocery shopping from time to time and random visits to Wal-Mart, Mama rarely left the house. Her telephone was her link to those she cared most about. She was most comfortable sitting at her kitchen table and talking with friends and family members for hours. It would sometimes frustrate me when I needed to make a telephone call and she was in the throes of one of her many conversations. But I grew to accept that the communication link was way too important to her for me to attempt to interfere with.

And I still miss seeing her sitting at the table, laughing with one of her friends or family members on the other end of the line.

Last week, though, common sense overcame sentimentality. I finally remembered to unplug my answering machine a couple of days later. Maybe, in time, I will quit listening for that familiar ring.

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