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Three Digits Fraught With Meaning : Area codes: There are secrets aplenty in these numbers.

March 06, 1994|ROBERT SCHMIDT | Los Angeles writer Robert Schmidt is finishing a book on job-hunting. and

My friend the numerologist says that nothing happens by chance. The Soviet Union fell according to Nostradamus, the stars foretell the future and messages are concealed everywhere. Even a seemingly innocuous choice, such as a region's area code, is fraught with subliminal meaning. The analysis:

213 (Los Angeles): The assorted low numbers indicate a mixed, working-class area without pretensions. The gritty, industrial heart of Southern California. See also 312 (Chicago).

310 (Los Angeles): Similar numbers, but their formal pattern (an arrangement divisible by 10) denotes a more highbrow, ritualized, sterile environment. The Westside and Beverly Hills.

818 (San Fernando Valley): The pair of large numbers bookending the digit indicates an area of old-fashioned, stand-up values. The Valley before its most recent demographic shifts. See also 515 (Iowa).

714 (Orange Country): The seven implies good fortune, a break with the past, but the trailing four says this area is anchored by old patterns.

415 (San Francisco): A four faces its twisted reflection, a five, across a divide. Just off-center enough to suggest the non-traditional pairings of this sexual hothouse. See also 504 (New Orleans).

212 (Manhattan): Twos over one hint at coiled strength, an eagle about to soar. But the numbers are too small for this powerhouse, suggesting a certain pettiness. The Ross Perot of area codes.

305 (Miami): The forward-looking three indicates a vibrant populace on the rise, but the five hidden behind the zero alludes to an odd, consuming secret--the obsession with liberating Cuba.

202 (Washington): A pair of even, staid twos bookend an empty core. The perfect metaphor for our faceless, bureaucratic capital. Compare with 501 (Arkansas)--all bluster up front, no substance behind.

801 (Utah): The up-front eight stands for God's infinite reach, but watch out for the sneaky one. Does it represent the Devil mocking righteous piety?

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