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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wrong Numbers

I'll never forget that June night in 1994 when I came home late from videotaping a wedding and heard my wife on the phone down in the family room. It was unusual for her to still be awake at that hour. I was halfway down the steps when she pointed at the television with wide-eyed urgency. I saw a white Ford Bronco driving down an abandoned four-lane expressway with countless police cars escorting it as if in a parade. Hundreds of spectators cheered on from every overpass.

"What is it?" I mouth as she spoke.

"O.J." she mouthed back, trying not to speak into the phone. She was dying to tell me more so she said, "Well, my husband just got home. I need to go so I can tell him about this. Good bye."

"Who was that?" I asked.

"I don't know. She was calling her friend about this O.J. thing and dialed us by mistake. We just started talking and couldn't stop."

"That conversation was a wrong number? How long did you talk?"

"Only about ten minutes. It’s fascinating…Sit down and watch."

"I take it O.J. is driving the white Bronco. What's with the police escort?"

"No. That's his friend driving. You can't see O.J. He's leaning over, and they think he's got a gun."

She went on to explain the melodrama that became known as "O.J.'s low-speed chase." The original live telecast lasted over an hour and "replayed" throughout the night. Nearly everyone old enough to watch TV at the time remembers that bizarre footage. NBC interrupted the NBA play-off game to cover the uneventful pursuit even though it was on virtually every other channel. It was America's first dose of "reality TV" (long before the avalanche of shows that tried to recapture that "live-and-unrehearsed" voyeuristic genre).

Books have been written and college courses are still taught on the sociological implications of our nation's immediate obsession with this event. There was nothing light-hearted about the televised trial that dominated our living rooms for next fifteen months, nothing laughable about the national obsession over the grizzly details of a gruesome murder, and there was certainly nothing funny about the October '95 "not guilty" verdict that seemed to be a peace offering for the '92 L.A. Riots. But I must admit... I still laugh at the thought of two ladies—connected only by a wrong-number—talking like a couple of middle-school girls about a white Bronco on a freeway.

Given the right subject, women know no strangers.

The most wonderful things that are true of my life can be traced back to a wrong number. Not the one Julie received in 1993... that's just a funny "female" thing. I'm talking about the wrong number my mother dialed in 1964. She talked to a perfect stranger for nearly an hour, and when she hung up some dominoes began to fall that only God could have put in place... and they're still toppling across His boundless tabletop. I hate to leave you in suspense, but I really need to get to bed.
I'll continue this post in a day or so (or perhaps next weekend) stay tuned for...

"That Call and Calvary" Here.

About a month after posting this, the "old news" OJ story became big news again as the killer was interviewed in a book called If I Did It.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's just mean!! :)

24/9/06 8:51 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I really will finish this, but after writing the post on the morning of the 30th, I was working on my "HOney-do" list and cut my left middle finger pretty good with a razor knife. I'm typing this with my right hand. It will be a while before I can type....

30/9/06 7:04 PM  

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