[402/441] Codes

Now, what codes could I be referring to here?   Interestingly, the combination of numbers “402” and “441” are both VERY salient to me, although I only thought about the number “402” when I went to write this post.  There are a few things that I want to write about in response to the number 402.

In the United States, phone numbers have the format 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx.  The first three digits (excluding the 1) are the area code.  A few weeks ago, I mentioned the “area” code 900.  Well, 402 is the area code that corresponds to most telephone numbers in Nebraska!

Interestingly, one thing that I have heard from some of my friends that go back to Nebraska: when they return, they may say “Back in the 402!”  I wonder if it is common for people to refer to their place by the area code.  I have never used that, but it makes sense that I WOULD adopt it after writing this post. 🙂

“The 402” is also the name for the “Life” section of the Lincoln Journal-Star, as to say that it is “what’s going on in the 402 area code.”  It has mostly a Lincoln slant, despite the fact that much of north-central and eastern Nebraska are in the 402 area code, including Omaha, Norfolk, and Valentine (er, Vah-Len-Tine… listen to a weather radio pronounce the name of that city.)

And in Lincoln, most of the government agencies have the prefix 441 on their phone numbers.  For example, the main phone number for Lincoln City Libraries is 1-402-441-8500.  I didn’t intentionally make Mission 441 so that I could write about Lincoln government phone numbers, but I knew that the area code would be the focal point of this post.  What a lucky co-incidence… or maybe not!  My Nebraska pride often shows through in unexpected ways!

It is strange, thinking about phone numbers.  I can’t remember new phone numbers since I just record them on my phone, which then backs them up on the cloud.  But I still remember the old phone number that my family had in Fort Dodge: 515-955-1678.  A license plate of a car in the Engelhart parking lot had a generic number which was VERY close to the last seven digits of this number, actually!

Some areas are really small geographically.  For example, area code 312 is only Chicago, whereas the north suburbs generally have area code 847.  Yet, I couldn’t see myself saying, “I’m in the 847” or even “I’m in the 312.”  Those numbers will probably grow on me after I graduate, particularly if I move away from Chicagoland.

Of course, what is even smaller geographically than area codes are ZIP codes.  When I lived in Fort Dodge, the town was small enough to only require one post office, with a ZIP code 50501.  When I sent letters to Aunt Lori or to Gramma Lea, both of whom lived in Lincoln, I was shocked when Mom told me that their ZIP codes were different.  Having only been “aware” of many things in life since I had lived in Fort Dodge, I didn’t understand it at the time (then again, I was 7 years old).

I love it how numbers are so easily mapped to people’s stories and life.  This is one of the joys of having a mathematical mind, even if math is so much more than the numbers.


Today is the four-hundred and second day of Mission 441.  Thirty-nine days remain.

Doo-doo-doo You must first dial a “1” when calling this number.


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