I just hung up the phone and cried


DEAR Bob Wilson:

You probably were surprised to receive my phone call this afternoon and to learn of my desperate desire to obtain a job as a reporter with the Daily Boomerang in Laramie. (As a matter of fact, I surprised myself by calling you.) But I want you to know that I'm glad that we had our little chat because, quite frankly, until I talked to you and learned that a position might be opening in three or four years, I'd been having a truly terrible day in Baltimore.

I needed to get to the post office. As you aptly noted, I have no experience as a reporter, but I am a free-lance writer and, as

such, I am quite dependent on the U.S. mail. I might even have left my correspondence at the front door for the postwoman to pick up, but I was out of stamps, so I decided to drive. I spent about half an hour freeing my car from its icy casing and started off down the alley behind my house in a neighborhood called Charles Village. I glided onto a major thoroughfare, blissfully unaware that I was about to begin a precipitous descent down the slippery slopes between Charles Village and Hampden, where the nearest post office is.

I don't know whether I said "Oh, no!" or "Ohhhh, NOOOOOO!" as I began to slide, but it was not the brakes but two parked cars that brought me to a halt at the intersection of Wyman Park Drive and Keswick Road.

As I attempted to climb out of my car to assess the damage, I was startled by the sight of several cars zig-zagging down the hill toward me. One maneuvered sideways, horn blaring, and continued through the red light at the intersection. And several others made it past me, though more prudently and gracefully, by sliding into a right-hand turn on Keswick. It wasn't until a vehicle hit my car and one of the parked cars that anyone stopped. The driver immediately pulled around the corner, and within seconds he was followed by two other cars that did exactly the same thing.

By this time, I observed, the damage to the parked car was considerable, and I rather suspected that it already had been hit several times. Some bits of its bumper and a signal light were scattered on the ice. No one had left a note.

The other drivers, out of their cars now, had created a quorum. I suggested that we find a police officer to make an accident report and perhaps to request that the street be blocked from traffic, at least temporarily. It was then that my fellow Baltimoreans surprised me with their irate speech and general lack of amiability. They demurred. None of them fessed up to hitting the parked car, and none admitted to having damaged my car. Before I knew it, all had departed.

I took down the tag numbers of the two cars that had been damaged and returned home in my battered (but drivable) car to call the insurance company. It was then that Laramie, Wyo., really began to take shape along the western horizons of my mind. Something told me it was time to leave Baltimore.

I want you to know I'm going to take your advice and try to get some experience in newspaper reporting. I'll send you some clips, and, if you don't mind, I'll update my resume periodically so that I'm first in line when that job opens. And I want you to know I was so happy you agreed to accept my application. I just hung up the phone and cried.


Linda Turbyville writes from Baltimore.

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