The Y2K bug may not have bitten 11 days ago, but the love bug did. Barbara Mason finds herself squarely in the middle.
"I have been receiving calls on my cell phone from James. He is calling Lisa," Barbara says. "I don't know James, and I'm not Lisa, either."
But James apparently believes that each time he leaves a message, Lisa is receiving it--and will be swayed by his moony sincerity into resuming their relationship.
To judge from the many messages James has left recently, he made Lisa angry for some reason, and she decided not to see him any more. James would like a second chance.
He calls. He begs. He calls again. He begs some more.
He always leaves a message but never leaves his phone number. As Barbara says, he must assume Lisa knows what it is. Barbara would like to call James and tell him that he isn't reaching the person he thinks he's reaching. But she can't.
In a message left on New Year's Day, James said for the first time that he was ready to "swallow his pride" and deliver a full apology for whatever sin he committed. He wished Lisa a happy New Year and said that, since she had not returned any of his calls, he would not call again.
But Lisa doesn't know about any of the calls, of course.
It's possible that she wanted it that way and deliberately fed her ex an incorrect cell phone number. But what if she would like to know about James's change of heart? What if re-romance is in the wind? What if Barbara is inadvertently standing in the way of total reconciliation and total romance?
"Can you help James find Lisa?" Barbara asks. "I hope so."
Barbara says she'd be uncomfortable if I published her full cell phone number. But she agreed to let me publish the final four digits. They are 9432.
If you're reading, James, you surely recognize yourself and at least some of the digits you've been dialing. Better chase your former lady love in some other way.
And if you're reading, Lisa . . . well, gee . . . I mean, I know it's none of my business, and maybe the guy is an ax murderer, or he uses too much mustard, or he insulted your parakeet . . .
But couldn't you give him another chance? To celebrate the non-Y2K bug, if nothing else?
She did it in the final week of 1999. But potential copycats are free to imitate Maria Giovanni now that it's 2000.
Maria donated her last hour's pay of 1999 to our annual fund-raising campaign on behalf of Children's Hospital. She chose Children's for the simplest and best of reasons. It's a "worthy cause," she said, in a note that swaddled her check.
I'm not going to insist that every wage-earner follow Maria's lead to the letter. But we are not proud here in Adding Machine Central. We'll accept a final half-hour's pay from 1999, even a final few minutes' worth. It all goes to the same worthy place, as it has since The Washington Post began this drive 51 years ago.
Thank you very much.
Our goal by Jan. 21: $650,000.
In hand as of Jan. 10:: $520,273.84.
TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAMPAIGN:
Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.
BY VISA OR MASTERCARD:
Call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 on a touch-tone phone. Then punch in K-I-D-S, or 5437, and follow instructions.
Groups, groups, glorious groups. These aggregations have contributed to our Children's campaign in recent days:
The Coffee Mess, Receipt Inspection Team, Test and Evaluation Department, Indian Head Division-NSWC, Indian Head ($350, with special thanks to that year-in-year-out guy, Allen Clark).
Katie Forbich's first- and second-grade classes, Lake Seneca Elementary School, Germantown ($91, and welcome aboard for a fifth year in a row).
Personnel Management Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda ($20 left over after a holiday luncheon).
Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ($220).
Alexander & Associates, Pardoe Real Estate, Northwest Washington ($250 in honor of 1999's clients).
Combined Properties Inc., Northwest Washington (a luscious $29,719.56 from merchants and customers at Combined's shopping centers all over the Washington area. Special thanks to Linda Dreyer).
Teenagers and Young Adults of Mockingbird Drive, Annandale ($350 from this group, which started as the Schoolchildren of Mockingbird Drive 15 years ago and has made a donation every year since).
Employees, Office of Pipeline Regulation, Office of Electric Power Regulation, Office of Economic Policy and Office of Finance, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ($1,065, the 25th year that this bunch has made a gift. Special thanks to Darla E. Hannan).
The Colburn Family Foundation ($1,000).
Primary School English Department, French International School, Chevy Chase ($500 from an annual holiday raffle and book sale, with special thanks to Betty J. Pincon, who adds her own to Janelle Battles).
Monday Nite Ladies' Bowling League, Waldorf ($155).
Wednesday Arlington County Duplicate Bridge Club ($100).
Second-grade classes, University Park Elementary School, Hyattsville ($125).
Students, Steve Cantor's fifth-grade class, Shrevewood Elementary School, Falls Church ($100 in lieu of holiday gifts).
Much obliged, one and all.