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2009-03-01 - 9:12 p.m.

...emails that weren't meant for me...

There is another woman faculty member in my department who is a part-time prof. She's a bit, well, out there. Another one of my colleagues refers to her as "Professor Sprout," which pretty much nails it.

Anyway, over the past year and a half, I've been getting emails from her, on her "suppressed list." I haven't commented at all. I just read them from time to time. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes they are odd, sometimes they have alerted me with useful information. And sometimes they are lovely and poetic: an essay from Garrison Keillor about the inauguration, and how refreshing it feels for it to be "cool" to be American again. (Garrison Keillor writes this from within the country. As someone living abroad I might still hold a different opinion about the 'coolness' of being American, but I get his point). Anyway, so I get these emails from her maybe a couple of times per month, and sometimes I read them, and sometimes I just dump them in the trash.

So two weeks ago, she sent me a virus warning - you know, those horrible hoaxes that are sent around - they are hoaxes 99.99% of the time. These virus warning hoaxes are one of my pet peeves. I really dislike it when people forward them without checking out first whether or not they are a hoax. So for the first time in so many months, I sent her a reply. I thanked her sending the essay from Garrison Keillor last week - I really enjoyed that. But actually, unverified warnings are kind of my pet peeve. I showed her where to check them out, and recommended that she just not forward them again.

I got a startled reply from her,"How did you get my email??? Who sent it to you????" Professor Sprout had NO IDEA that she has been sending me emails for the past 18 months. She was shocked and a little startled. She said she has no idea why and how emails are being sent to people she has not indicated. And so the emails stopped coming...

Until yesterday, when they resumed. Guess she gave up worrying about broadcasting things she thinks are cool to the wider world. I guess this is a new kind of in-your-face in-your-inbox blogging. And since Sprout is not sure who she is emailing, I've decided that I could just as well post the lovely poem that she sent yesterday. Enjoy.


Bridal Shower

By George Bilgere

Perhaps, in a distant café,
four or five people are talking
with the four or five people
who are chatting on their cell phones this morning
in my favorite café.

And perhaps someone there,
someone like me, is watching them as they frown,
or smile, or shrug
at their invisible friends or lovers,
jabbing the air for emphasis.

And, like me, he misses the old days,
when talking to yourself
meant you were crazy,
back when being crazy was a big deal,
not just an acronym
or something you could take a pill for.

I liked it
when people who were talking to themselves
might actually have been talking to God
or an angel.
You respected people like that.

You didn't want to kill them,
as I want to kill the woman at the next table
with the little blue light on her ear
who has been telling the emptiness in front of her
about her daughter's bridal shower
in astonishing detail
for the past thirty minutes.

O person like me,
phoneless in your distant café,
I wish we could meet to discuss this,
and perhaps you would help me
murder this woman on her cell phone,

after which we could have a cup of coffee,
maybe a bagel, and talk to each other,
face to face.

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