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Pray for Rain

2003-07-26 - 12:07 a.m.

So. I�m leaving for Montana tomorrow, right? For Glacier National Park?

Well, guess what I just read in the Chicago Tribune.

It�s on fire..

That�s right. My vacation destination is aflame.

According to the Trib, �several thousand people were evacuated from Glacier National Park yesterday.� That�s all it said. It was in a cutline under a picture of a bored-looking fireman holding a hose up to some flaming trees. The cutline talked a little bit about a fire somewhere else in Montana, and then, like an afterthought, �.... oh yeah, and by the way, SEVERAL THOUSAND PEOPLE WERE EVACUATED FROM GLACIER PARK.�

Great. That�s just what I needed.

When I get on the train tomorrow, do you think I can ask the conductor to let me pay the extra dollars to stay on board to Seattle or San Francisco?

I�ve always known that when I die, I want to be cremated rather than buried, so I guess if I turn in to dust out there, it won�t be a complete tragedy. Although I was really hoping I�d live to be 80-something or 90.

And guess what else.

Tonight my phone rang as I was packing, and when I noticed the word �Private� on my caller ID, I was all on-guard and ready to put on my super snotty persona, which I literally can never summon unless it�s with telemarketers-- something about that anonymity gives me balls of steel.

When I said hello, I got the typical drawn-out, awkward mispronunciation of my name, so I snapped, �Yes, this is she, who wants to know?�

The guy immediately said, �I�m calling to ask you some questions for the alumni directory of The College You Graduated From.�

Suddenly I felt awful for being such a snot. The College I Graduated From, like probably all other colleges, has students do these little phone-a-thon things every now and then to ask for money or some other kind of support, because they know alumni will be kinder to students, and the college kids agree to do it because they need their beer-drinking money, of course. So I immediately softened.

�OH! I�m sorry,� I said, all friendly now. �I thought you were a telemarketer. I was getting ready to be really rude!�

The guy laughed and said something about how his wife is a waitress and how he treats people differently now because of that. Or something. I wasn�t really listening, because I surprised to hear that he was married. I really didn�t know any married people when I was a student at The College I Went To.

Then he got back to business and asked for my current address and job title. And when I told him where I worked and gave him my job title, he started laughing.

At first I couldn�t believe what I was hearing, but then he confirmed it when he said, �Kinda hypocritical, don�tcha think?�

Suddenly, I felt sweaty. Nearly every day of the week at work, I have to take crap from people about the fact that I now work for the college that was a major football rival against The College From Which I Graduated. Seriously. People give me major crap about it, and they�re not usually joking. So I�m thinking, here I am on a Friday night, in my own home, and this punk ass is going to give me crap, too?

�Excuse me?� I said. �Did you just say �Hypocritical?� What are you laughing about?�

The guy on the line said, �That you have a job in marketing. And you�re mean to telemarketers. That seems pretty hypocritical to me.�

Then he started to read off information about my class year and my major and my phone number, but instead of listening, I was trying to convince myself that he�d really said what he�d just said. I came to attention when he asked, �And may we list the names of your children and spouse?�

�I don�t have either,� I said.

He laughed again and said, �Oh, phew, good for you. Wait a minute, wait a minute, I guess I�m telling you a little too much about my own life, aren�t I? Heh heh heh heh.�

And then I caught on.

�Um, excuse me,� I said. �Are you a student at the College From Which I Graduated?�

And then the s.o.b. goes, �Actually, no, I�m calling from [Some Company That Tries to Sell You a Sixty-Five Dollar Directory with Names of Your College�s Alumni Listed In It,� and if you�ll just bear with me, I�ll go ahead and tell you about how, for $65.99, you can get a soft-bound edition of the directory that can help keep you in touch with 1,400 alumni around the world....�

Woe is me. Montana, here I come. (And, uh, as I�m on my way, could you please stop smoldering?)

that was then - this is now

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