Dialing Dover

CALL it the dial tone heard round the world. Residents of the Boston suburb of Dover are up in arms over being included in a new area code. The phone company was running dry on numbers for the 617 area, what with the ``Massachusetts Miracle'' and all. So after due consideration, New England Telephone spun off a wide ring of communities surrounding Greater Boston into area code 508 (consider this a public-service announcement if you haven't yet heard).

Dover sits right on the area-code border. One might think that a community of 4,500, boasting the second-highest per capita income of any town in the state, would take the change in stride. Surely most Doverites either have at least one programmable phone in the house, or through hard work have developed the manual dexterity to hit buttons four more times. But no, their state representative is now hard at work trying to get Dover shoehorned back into 617. Why? Residents, the rep says, are ``oriented'' - whatever that means - to Boston.

One can sympathize with the inconvenience brought by change. But huffing and puffing over area codes? New York City got split in two, telephonically; southern California finds itself with two new area codes. They seem to be well adjusted. Give it time, Dover. You'll learn to love it.

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