"Zone" is one of those old and ambiguous terms. It's a word used to define an area or space. When the post office uses it it can be even more confusing.
Before ZIP Codes came about, folks who lived in larger urban communities had their towns, boroughs, cities or what-have-you broken up into zones. It meant that there was more than one post office service the town, borough, city, or what-have-you. Sixty-seven was the zone of my first apartment where I grew up in New York City's borough of the Bronx.
Nowadays when the post office refers to zone it means a large geographic region (like a time zone) that is designated by a single digit. You calculate postage shipping rates based on to and from.
I'm sure this information is quite fascinating to the masses.
I bring it up because I have an email bud with whom I used to work. She's from Brooklyn and I'm from the Bronx. While we're both New Yorkers living in California, there is still a certain rivalry (sort of like the one shared by the Yanks and the Rebs). Anyway I put my old zone in one of my email addresses and she was very concerned about what the number signified. It was too large a number for my age and too inappropriate a number for my birth year. I told her about the zones and she remembered Mr ZIP !
The next topic of boring conversation after something like that is generally the telephone exchanges. But that's for another time
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