At the Tone, the Time Will Be . . .

At some point in my northern Virginia childhood, I discovered that I could call 844-1212 and find out exactly what time it was. “At the tone, the time will be 11:41pm and ten seconds . . . (beep).” Around the same time, I also learned that dialing 936-1212 would get you a free, recorded weather report.

These services were provided by C&P Telephone, which was eventually subsumed into Bell Atlantic, and then into Verizon. Against all odds, both services survived from 1939 to present. Long after my preferred weather source moved to CompuServe and then to various Internet sources, you could still get a report from (703) 936-1212. Long after we all got cell phones that synced with accurate tower time automatically, you could still call (703) 844-1212 and get that archaic, soothing voice and tone.

If you call those numbers now, you still get those age-old recorded services . . . but the weather report is preceded by a glib message indicating that Verizon’s time and weather services will cease to exist on June 1 of this year. Such is the price of progress, but I’m always kind-of sad to see these kinds of things go.

Scott Bradford has been putting his opinions on his website since 1995—before most people knew what a website was. He has been a professional web developer in the public- and private-sector for over twenty years. He is an independent constitutional conservative who believes in human rights and limited government, and a Catholic Christian whose beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He loves Pink Floyd and can play the bass guitar . . . sort-of. He’s a husband, pet lover, amateur radio operator, and classic AMC/Jeep enthusiast.