Did you know that Oklahoma is experiencing a rapid population growth in the East/Northeast area?  So much so, in fact, that the State has been weighing options to prevent them from running out of 918 area code phone numbers.  There have been two options on the table:

New Area Code:  Split the 918 into two areas, one 918, one a new code.  Some numbers would change.
Overlay:  Newly issued numbers in the 918 area would be given a new area code, but no maps would be redrawn.


Lex Luthor: [pointing to a map of Oklahoma] Right now, this state has two area codes:  918 and 405.  Since the state of Oklahoma has less than four million people in it, this has not been a problem.  However, a certain area of the state has seen a rapid jump in population
[Whaps Otis with his pointer]
Otis: Uhhh… Northeast Oklahoma.  Tulsa area.
Lex Luthor: Now, call me foolish, call me irresponsible, it occurs to me that a total exhaustion of phone numbers in a huge segment of the state, uh…
Superman: Would cause chaos and panic.  No one could get a new phone number. And the ease in which we talk to one another-…
Lex Luthor: Falls into the history books. [Gives a little wave with his hand] Bye-bye, landlines. Hello, US Postal Service. But I have an idea!.
[Otis overlays map with new map]
Lex Luthor: Split the 918 area code!  Some keep their old area code, some get a new one.  It takes a little getting used to, but it’s organized!  It makes sense!  Just like the map here.  I’ve written what I feel are fair boundary lines for a new area code division and, uh.. Overlay [hand-written by Otis, with backwards ‘Y’]… Overlay?
[Lex looks at Otis with a narrow and darkening gaze]
Otis: Other states, they went with an Overlay.
Lex Luthor: Overlay?
Otis: It’s just a small change, old people wouldn’t have to learn something new.
Lex Luthor: [Angrily] OVERLAY?!
Otis: Okay, I’ll just wipe it off, that’s all. It’s just a little town. [Erases Overlay]
Oklahoma is going with the overlay.  WHAT?!  This is the most ridiculous item of the day.  So you are telling me, if I have a 918 number in my home, and I want a second line…it may have a DIFFERENT area code?  If I have a personal cell and a work cell, they might look like they are from ENTIRELY different areas?  This is preposterous.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission decided to go this route due to the fact that people having to learn new area codes could “hurt small businesses” and cause confusion for older people.  Call me crazy, but it’s WAY more confusing to have the SAME geographic area with TWO different area codes, the only differentiation between the two being some invisible time line.
Oh, but they are warning people that they will start to have to use ten digit dialing.  Naturally.  Because if you want to call your neighbor, it’s an entirely different area code…but only that neighbor, the other one has a number just like yours.  It’s EASY, SEE?  Surely easier than just dividing the map differently and providing an easy A B C area code solution.  Oh, wait, no, that’s NOT easy, because some people will have to LEARN.  This way the good ol’ boys can do things the way they always have.
It is this kind of compromise and “we don’t want to change the way things are” that REALLY puts me in Yosemite-Sam-Shoot-The-Floor mode and want to find another place to settle.  This. Decision. Makes. No. Sense.  Cotton-pickin’ varmints!
If anyone has any way to make me see this in a better light, please…I’m all ears.  And rage.  Ears and rage.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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2 Responses to Overlay?!

  1. Craig says:

    Overlays are nothing unusual though. There are no less than 40 overlays currently in place (plus at least 14 more likely or expected in the short term – 217/447, 256/938, 274/920, 402/531, 450/579, 512/737, 541/458, 613/343, 705/249, 708/464, 715/534, 860/959, 870/???, 919/984) and not just in big cities (where splits are almost impossible) either. There is only one split on the books right now – 270/364 in Kentucky, and there are calls to convert that to an overlay as well.

  2. Rhys Martin says:

    Wow, Craig, that is a much more in depth and studied response than I expected. Thanks!

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