Thursday, December 04, 2008



I've always been a terrible judge of character. I can't even remember the first time I may have spoken to Barack Obama. Yet today I was flipping through the bulky old Rolodex I saved from my last job (before I had a blackberry) and I came across his name. It was printed in my hand (mostly caps) and in the blue ink that I prefer. I had his phone number, and his fax. His name was misspelled: Barak. I didn't favor him with any title. Was he not yet a Senator? Did I harbor a grudge because of my friendship with Alice Palmer?

I couldn't resist dialing -- rather, tapping in -- the number. It rang. A woman on the other end rattled off a name. Excuse me? I said. No, it wasn't the transition office, or his U.S. Senate office, or even a recycled Illinois state Senate number. It was a law firm, Judd Miner's place. Harold Washington's former corporation counsel, a man who had once offered me a job. I accepted it, and then changed my mind. I send him a box of Godiva chocolates, embarrassed at my change of heart.

Why had I called Obama there? What might I have called about -- or faxed to him? I didn't have his business card, so I must have sent something in response to a call, a personal request.

I told the receptionist I had the wrong number and returned the receiver to its cradle. I corrected the president-elect's spelling, printing a "c" above a little carrot pointed between the "a" and the 'k." I left the card behind the divider labeled "O" and returned to my alphabetical excavation, searching for the Anne Spillane.

My life dissolves as I walk through it.

1 comment:

spacedlaw said...

What a strange occurence. If you had accepted and kept the job you might have been answering your own phone call.