My friend Maya has been on the road for the past three years, but her cell phone number still starts with 917. So does mine, and I moved to California four months ago. My friend Ellen lives in Berkeley and her phone number starts with 818, while Cathy's 319 is a relic of her grad school days in Iowa.
Even as the great day of number portability approaches, it's worth remembering what we're actually carrying with us is not just a number, but a record of our past: the city we lived in -- in some cases, even the neighborhood -- where we went mobile. What was it Buckaroo Banzai said? Oh, that's right: No matter where you go, there you are.