I'll warn you right out front, this could turn out to be a long story. Maybe it was Technorati or maybe it was Google, I don't recall, but I was ego-surfing last week, maybe two weeks ago, time being relative and all, and I came across some RageBoy hits on Ann Craig's blog. So I went there. Hmmmm.
On her About page, I read:
"I'm common. and simple. and petulant. and self-involved. and very wanky. I am not a
musician." I was so moved by this brief biography that I totally believed she ran a bed and
breakfast somewhere in Texas. If you study that page more closely than I did, you'll see that my enthusiasm must have considerably damped-down my IQ, as the collage there clearly depeicts a historic marker for Intercourse, PA.
There was also this picture of her with a baby lion. Now, there is nothing I love more than baby lions. So I sent her mail. But first I should explain that I didn't know Ann at all, except that she had blogged news of Marek J (who is currently sulking in his shut-down blog about who-knows-what) when he was sick. In the hospital for something I now forget. And no, not as you might expect, a mental hospital, where he probably belongs, for being Polish if for no other reason, of which I suspect there are plenty, judging from his poetry, but no, a regular medical hospital. So, as far as I could remember, which isn't very far these days, Ann and I had had no previous communication. On this score, I seem to be wrong, as I just now sorted the 20,751 msgs in my Inbox and found something from her dated February 22, 2001: "Now leave me the fuck alone and keep me laughing." The proximate cause
of this arcane comment is now sadly lost forever lost in the mists of time. Then on
September 5th of this year: "You raging, fucking lunatic. What are you so pissed about? It's infecting the populace. Is it worth it? Marek J. has been dead for how long now? What are you enrolling people into? Huh?" A touching note, indeed, but not atypical of the mail I get from EGR readers pretty much every day. However, as I said, I had forgotten receiving this, and whatever precipitated it, possibly my entire output since the end of April. Understandable that it would have upset her mental balance, as it clearly had. But anyway, we're now back to a couple weeks ago, the bogus bed and breakfast, and the cuddly baby lion. Here's the email I sent.
I was not surprised to hear nothing back from her. Women the Internet over receive such trolls from me on a regular basis, and (possibly due to some background conspiracy hatched over at Blog Sisters) have been warned never to respond to them. However, that was not the case in this case.
About a week later I was cc'd on this mail from Marek, whose server serves Ann's blog, and evidently handles mail to her old address:
From: Christopher Locke [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 9:19 PM
Subject: a lion? really?
do you really have a lion? a bed & breakfast in Texas?
how much of anything is real? as if anyone would actually
know. but even if you don't, drop a line. or call me. what
From: Marek J [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 5:24 PM
To: email@example.com; Ann Craig
Subject: RE: a lion? really?
I have intercepted this dangerous email from a maniac they call
Rageboy. I believe he wants to copulate with your lion and have
you watch him do it. He doesn't know that you changed your email
to firstname.lastname@example.org because this polish guy marek fucked up
the frontfoot domain email for everybody. Hope you are doing
great in San Francisco and you are sticking things in and out
and not letting them pull out.
I'm not sure what that last part means, but it probably had something to do with the job Ann had evidently gone to San Francisco to take on. Possibly a switchboard operator for the National Security Agency or the KGB. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Naturally, I wrote back:
From: Christopher Locke [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, December 02, 2002 11:51 AM
To: 'Ann Craig'
Cc: 'Marek J'
Subject: RE: a lion? really?
Imagine how embarrassed I am! And how shocked that Marek would
breach the sanctity, nay, the inviolate sacred trust of private
email to suggest that I wish to perform unnatural acts with an
I am outraged!
of course, as this is my natural condition, it really
constitutes no earth-shattering news.
I was merely conveying my regards.
at least it got me mail from MJ, who has all but slipped the
surly bonds of earth except for the occasional incomprehensible
Polish poem. Well, that and impersonating female Harvard
that's what I love about the Internet. you just never know
WHAT'S gonna come next.
Little did I know how prophetic that last graf would turn out to be. I received the first response from Ann last Friday night:
As it happened, however, she called me, several hours later, thinking she would get my answering machine. Of course the Great Oz must work in a steel-and-glass tower somewhere and have 13 layers of personal secretaries to protect him from the common rabble. "Chris Locke," I said. "Oh shit," she said, "I thought I'd get your answering machine." She was clearly cowed by my deep masculine voice and far-flung reputation as a Total Genius. I told her to relax and take deep breaths, that this was a common reaction on first speaking with someone of my stature, but that she'd soon get over it. She did, and we talked for a while. I forget about what. How great I was, mostly. And how stupid for getting sucked in by the bed and breakfast gambit. "I thought you were supposed to be smart," she said. She got over it quicker than I thought she would. Damn. But then I got 32 calls from my daughter Selene who was goofing around with her pal's cell phone, and another call during all that, which I took and talked with that wondrous person for a long time, after telling Ann I'd get back to her. Which I never did, sleep suddenly intervening. However, I did call Selene back, who was having a better time than any young child should, and had left three very silly voice-mail messages in the meantime, berating me for being a bad daddy and correctly guessing who I'd been talking to. I sent Ann mail the next day saying sorry about that, let's try again.
From: Ann Craig [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, December 06, 2002 5:14 PM
Subject: RE: a lion? really?
I so enjoy other people's embarrassment! Thanks for that.
And of course I have a baby lion. And a B&B. And a winning
lotto ticket. And the clap and a cure for cancer and no body
odor and a truly delightful way with damn near anybody.
I am sort of in a state of dislocation at the moment. I am
currently in San Francisco and am looking for a j.o.b. . . .
which means I have too much time on my hands, not enough $$$
and am probably not very good company. So, given your seemingly
perpetual state of agitation, you ought to drop me a line or
So she called the next night, which was Saturday, for those of you keeping track, but my son Jesse (who is 29) was over, and we were about to go out to dinner, I told her. We ended this brief exchange with a promise to talk about sex next time, at which Jesse, who was standing there listening to this, rolled his eyes to heaven.
Today -- or what was today yesterday -- was pretty much of a bummer for me. I've been doing this whole Babe Magnet routine lately, and in some ways it's worked all too well. Not that I'm complaining. Not one bit. But certain problems have arisen (that I can't go into here; or anywhere), which have led me to rethinking my whole approach. And what I was thinking today was that it really hasn't been working too pretty good. Here I sit, girl-less still, lonely as a porcupine at a water skiing exhibition. I was looking at my four walls again, my spam-only email, and thinking how much my life sucked. With nothing else to do, I went back to reading the novel I started last week about cloistered Carmelite nuns, mystical LSD visions, and state-of-the-art neurosurgery. After a couple chapters, the phone rang.
It was Ann Craig. "Oh hello, Ann." We were old friends now. Blogging has this strange effect of accelerating time and general inappropriate forwardness. Does for me anyway. And evidently for Ann as well. Soon we were exchanging masturbation techniques and comparing vibrators. This was all non-performative and rather casual, even though we both agreed it was a bit surprising to be sharing such information with each other after speaking on the telephone only three times. We reflected on this oddity a while, then decided, fuck it, it didn't matter. Thus is genuine trust built. It's not based on anything. You do it or you don't, and that's all she wrote.
But we somehow ran out of outrageously sexual topics and wandered back for a moment to The Technology. Ann was explaining why her blog was hosed -- MAREK -- and she said, as I only later understood, "Marek rolled over it." (I'm still trying to figure out what that meant.)
"What?" I said. "Did you really say Marek rolled a hoover?"
She laughed. I laughed. I said, "That sounds like it could become a new meme, like all your base is belong to us. Like: 'He received his MBA from Stanford but then rolled a hoover in the ensuing financial downturn.'"
Ann is a quick study. Soon we were making up subtle new connotations and usages. "I totally rolled a hoover when you picked up the phone on Friday," she said.
"Yeah, well I rolled a hoover when you told me about that purple thing."
"That was your purple thing," she said. And it went on like this for an about an hour until she made me promise to go blog about rolling a hoover. "Right now!" she said. "Before it's too late!" I said I thought it was already too late.
And indeed it was. Soon we had decided to live together. You know, spend the Holidays in bed and watching movies and walking around Boulder making fun of the natives. The more we talked about it, the more perfectly insane it sounded to both of us. I got up and hauled myself to the terminal. "Let's check Expedia. Maybe I can pick you up at Denver International tonight." But it turned out there were no workable flights until tomorrow (now today). Also, we said, let's reconsider what we're doing here. This has to be a really truly a bad idea. "A worst practice," I said. It turned out Ann had not read Gonzo Marketing, so I had to explain. "A worst practice is something that's totally the opposite of what you know you ought to do, so you do it anyway, being contrarian by nature and essentially without moral scruples or the usual psychological dread that protects most people from making horrible mistakes that lead to unbelievably happy serendipitous consequences."
"I love you," she said. "I am rearranging my molecules."
"I love you too, baby. I'll meet you at the baggage claim around 10."
"This is nuts, you know?"
"No, it's perfect. It's the fucking Holidays, after all. We would otherwise be separately miserable in these two random cities we happen to be inhabiting for no good reason really. No time for you to be looking for a goddam job, that's for sure. And I have a fireplace here and a big bed. Big enough."
"OK, I'm coming to Colorado."
"Good. Great. We can ring in the new year together. What the hell. We'll have fun. We'll love each other. We're both ready for that. And we'll walk around. Look at stuff. Talk our heads off."
"Yeah. And make love a lot."
"Right. You bet. See you at tenish, then..." And her phone died.
Later, I go to Ann's blog again and find an entry titled "My True Love" dated 11/2/02 and linked to the very blog you're reading now, followed by my (then) entire blogroll. And also an item titled "yo baby yo diddy diddy whad up?" which includes the line "boom. boom. boom. boom. boom. yo. babydiddydiddywhadupcuzyoulookinfolovinanigotsomthinsomthin..."
I start to blog all this, then think: Wait. I am crazy. I am taking various medications in sometimes odd and non-sequential combinations, and I've been sleeping a lot, erratically, dreaming strange dreams, then waking, then falling asleep again. Like all day yesterday. Maybe I hallucinated this whole thing. I find the number and call her. A guy answers. "Is Ann Craig there?" I ask. "Yeah, just a minute." She comes on. "Hello, this is Ann Craig."
"I was just talking to you, right?" I say. "I'm blogging this, so I need to make sure."
"You're WHAT?" she says.
"You know, blogging about how you're flying out here tomorrow and moving in with me. I'm calling it 'How We Rolled a Hoover for the Holidays.' What do you think?"
"Perfect," she says. "This is so totally wrong. I'm so excited!"
"Me too," I said. "I can't wait." And then we said a bunch of other stuff before her phone crapped out again. All those brilliant scientists, I thought. Why can't they ever get the technology right.
Ann & RageBoy jointly blog their truelife adventures in Boulder, Colorado.