Archive for the ‘Post 4.0’ Category

Monday, March 26, 8:14 a.m.

“I need a favor,” says a flat voice that I vaguely recall.

Not long ago, it became illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving. I try to make it quick.

“Lucy?” I say. “I’m on my way to work.”

“I need to bring someone to school for Career Day.”

“What? Why? What? It’s eight in the morning!”

I’m barely halfway through my first dose of coffee. I’m barely halfway to work. How did Lucy get my cell phone number?

Oh, right. I gave it to her. To give to her dad.

“I’m confused. It’s early. What?” I bleat into my cell phone.

“I’m supposed to bring a parent or a mentor for Career Day. Can you come?”

“What? When?”


“Today? Are you kidding?” I’m driving one-handed with the cell phone plastered to my ear. I honk impatiently as cautious motorists seek to outfox the financially disastrous red light cameras  surrounding my office by slamming on their brakes when the light turns yellow, courting a rear-end collision.

“Career Day—you mean, you want to be a journalist? Why not bring your dad?”

“Hardly,” she snorts. “I want to be a nun. But the only nuns I know are my teachers, and we’re not allowed to bring a teacher. So…can you come?”

“A nun? You think I’m like nun? What? I’m confused.”

Lucy sighs long and loud.

“Hardly,” she says again.

Yes, hardly! Oh my God, more slamming of brakes at yellow lights! I will rear-end someone before the year is out, I know it. I ought to hang up my cell phone. They say it’s dangerous to talk while driving. It’s illegal, so it must be true. The fine is ruinous.

“So how exactly am I your mentor?” I inquire.

Lucy sighs again, this time with the profound world-weariness of the teenager I was and now sound so freakin’ old by referencing. I can hear her eyes rolling.

“You’re not,” she says. “But you’re Dad’s girlfriend, right? That’s close enough to a parent.”

We’ll gloss over the hysterical protests on my part (“Are you kidding!? I’m married! Happily! I have a daughter! I am not your dad’s anything! We aren’t even friends! I met him five days ago—professionally! I’m very married—are you kidding me!?”)

I decide to go to Lucy’s Career Day.