Bulletin Board, excerpt

Life as we know it

From (St. Paul Pioneer Press) Bulletin Board

Posted on Sat., Dec. 17, 2005

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Life as we know it

Writes Poet X of PDX: "Subject: Number, please.

"The eight-week temp job is a couple days from ending, a good time to record a few fond memories.

"Answering the phone for a catalog company at Christmas time, I'm pretty confident that I've spoken to folks from every state. Today I helped a woman from North Pole, Alaska, who was ordering three bracelets that read: 'Well behaved women rarely make history.'

"Just this week I spoke with a man who lived a few blocks from Frank Sinatra's Hoboken, New Jersey, home, and with a woman on her 93rd birthday, as well as a man who climbed Mount Hood in the 1950s. It seemed a vivid memory for him still, but he seemed to recall as fondly, and maybe more vividly, the bicycle ride down the mountain to the Columbia River: ' We didn't have to pedal once.'

"The only call I've taken from North Dakota was a customer in a town near Williston that is so small I couldn't recall having heard of it, despite growing up in Minot, a couple hours away. I told her that the recipients of her gifts would be the best-dressed people in the state, and she explained the gifts were for her adult children who lived in Minneapolis.

"Along with the customers from remote parts of Alaska, Alabama and Arizona, several customers gave addresses that I recognized as being within blocks of Central Park in Manhattan.

"I recognized the address of a woman who confirmed that George W. Bush is a Texas neighbor.

"Talking to customers anywhere near the Twin Cities, I'd usually mention that I used to live in Minneapolis. A customer today from Florida, I think, was sending a gift to Minnesota, and we learned we had each lived near Lake Calhoun many years ago. Another time I spoke with a woman whose address was familiar enough for me know it was near Lake Harriet, and we chatted briefly about that.

" 'On the back of the catalog is a blue box with a customer ID number. May I get that number, please?' 'Item number?' 'Paying by credit card? I'm ready for that number.' So much for counting sheep trying to get some sleep. All it does is make me think of work!"

Band Name of the Day: The Temp Jobs