Thursday, August 30, 2007

708 vs. 773

if you've called my cell phone in the last year and i haven't picked up, you've heard a message instructing the usual (leave a message, etc.) but then you've also heard my 'this IS NOT maria's phone number, if you leave a message for maria she will NOT hear it' shpiel. for the past three years i've been getting calls for "maria," who's apparently a nurse, and who apparently gets emergency shouts out from patients at all hours.

i've argued with some of these patient-callers for longer than i'd like to admit - me insisting the number they've called is NOT maria's, and them insisting it IS maria's, and can they talk to her please? will i just get her please?

this had begun driving me crazy - not just because of all of the random calls, but because these men (it was always men) seemed to really need maria. 'she's my nurse,' they'd explain, over and over, and most of the time they did not sound well.

one man was especially incredulous when i told him the number he'd dialed was mine, and that i'd had it for the past six years, and that there was no way to reach maria through it. i kept him on the phone for awhile trying to learn more about maria, so i could track her down and explain the perennial mix-up, and by the end i think he'd taken a shine to me. he called back several times over the next few days, lonely, just wanting to talk to...anyone. finally, after the third call at work, i told him to stop. but felt pretty badly about it...felt pretty bad that i'm no maria.

so earlier today i answered another of these calls, and when i explained there was no maria at the other end of the number he'd dialed, the older gentleman on the phone was very apologetic about his mistake. as per usual i pressed him for information about the elusive maria, and finally learned the crucial bit of information that's been the cause of the dozens and dozens of maria-seeking calls that i've received over the years.

it's an area code thing. maria and i DO have the same phone number...but we also have different area codes. such an obvious, simple explanation! now i'm anxiously waiting for the next maria call, when i can instruct the caller how to actually reach his beloved nurse.

luckily, i probably won't have to wait long - there may be an ailing man somewhere out there in chicagoland, reaching for is telephone right at this very moment. i wonder if maria's ready for him...

update: forget all of the optimistic benevolence above - i'm still getting calls for maria but can't seem to help/make/force the callers to understand the situation, try as i might. and yes, legions of sick, confused old men in chicagoland are still leaving messages for maria on my phone. clearly, acceptance is the only way forward...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

one long song

there are moments when chicago really shines. last thursday we listened (and watched) in awe as legendary pianist muhal richard abrams played one long song on a grand piano set up in the middle of the huge pritzker pavilion stage at millenium park. [the camera on my phone captured the moment surprisingly well, considering up-close pictures of people are barely recognizable] the performance was free, the weather accommodating, and hundreds of folks sat mesmerized in the seats or sprawled on the huge lawn next to their picnic sets, absorbing the music.

there's something incredible about improvised music spilling forward as the sun strokes the heart somehow. one lucky bird dove and swooped back and forth across the stage as abrams, hunched, did the same across the piano. we rode our bikes home supremely satisfied, a feeling that lingered for the rest of the night.

good job, chicago. and thank you, mr. abrams.

Monday, August 06, 2007


who do you want to hear on the radio?

if it happens to be one of seven contestants still competing in the
public radio talent quest then speak up and vote for your favorite(s), now that the audio submissions for round three have been posted. kudos to all of them for sticking in there and subjecting themselves to intense scrutiny. including yours.

the quest still makes me think of capes. but not exactly the kind pictured here. the cape in my mind is more of the orange variety...