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Modern Dad: What happens when you talk to an anonymous text message

Nov. 2. Jon Show. She came to me out of nowhere. A gift from the ether that arrived one Thursday night in mid-October. It started with a buzzing text notification from my phone.

“I’m a volunteer at <political group redacted>,” the text began. “Can we count on your support for Roy Cooper and Christy Clark?”

I, like most of you, have responded to dozens of these texts over the last month by making an annoyed harumpf sound and then typing STOP, only to pick up a buzzing phone moments later to read an even more annoying text that confirms you unsubscribed.

But this one was different. One, I was bored and, two, I wanted to see if it was actually a person. So I responded.

“Perhaps. Who’s asking?”

“Hi Jonathan. I’m Annie and we are letting people know they live in competitive districts in NC. Would you link any info about Christy Clark or how to vote in your county?”

She had me at hello. Jonathan? So formal. I didn’t want info on political candidates or how to vote but I was bored so I responded with sass and a passive aggressive swipe at her typo, “Link any info? What does that mean?”

“If you have an issue you particularly care about I can let you know Christy’s particular stance on that issue or you can check out her platform at www.ChristClarkNC.com.”

She didn’t answer my question about the typo so I clicked on the link and it went nowhere, probably because the candidate’s name isn’t Christ. Annie immediately followed with a flurry of texts.

“Sorry typ”

“Typo haha”

SMH. She didn’t clarify which typo she was referring to so I moved on to questions about issues that are important to me.

“Where does she stand on barbecue sauce? I love a good vinegar sauce.”

Annie replied almost immediately. “Oh of course – it has to be vinegar. Come on, no self-respecting eastern North Carolinian would think otherwise and Tess is a local!”

Meet the dog

I had so many questions that I didn’t know where to begin. Was she aware that our district isn’t located in eastern North Carolina? And who in the world is Tess? I was hooked.

I typed in the correct web address to Christy Clark’s website, which had a nice picture of her family and her dog. I decided to move past my previous line of questioning and onto an issue of even more importance to me than barbecue.

“What’s her dog’s name?” I asked Annie.

Again, a quick response. “I haven’t met her dog, so I’m not sure.”

Do these people want my vote or not? Faced with another dead end question I reverted to our previous exchange.

“I meant to ask this before. Who is Tess?”

Many hours later I received an answer to my query. “Sorry I meant Christie! I’m texting with too many people (goofy face emoji).”

Intrigued and confused about the introduction of another new character I asked, “Who is Christie?”

She replied seconds later: “Christy Clark.” Oh. My mistake. Sorry boo.

I went about the rest of my Friday.

A text to remember

Later that night, the Blonde Bomber’s soccer game was over and everyone was in bed and I had no one to talk to. So I picked up my phone and hit up Annie.

“Did you find out her dog’s name yet? There’s a dog on her website.”

“Sure didn’t.”

“Ok. Who are you voting for? Trump or Biden? Who was the guy with the fly on his head.”

“He is Trump’s Vice President,” responded Annie. “I am voting for Biden and all Democrats.”

I felt like we were getting somewhere. Almost developing a rapport. A tete a tete, if you will. I went to bed, awoke on Saturday morning and decided to hit her up on some more issues over coffee.

“Where does Christy stand on toll lanes? I don’t like them but they are SUPER fast when traffic is all backed up.”

“I believe she put forward legislation last year to help the toll lanes run more smoothly.”

“Ok, is she related to Governor Christie in NJ? He’s a big dude.”

“I don’t know,” she answered curtly.

“I googled it and they aren’t related,” I responded. And then she went quiet.

On Sunday afternoon I was leaning on a fence at Future Man’s lacrosse game with the other dads because that’s what dads do at lacrosse games.

I hadn’t heard from Annie in more than 24 hours, so during a break in action I sent her a picture of Michael Jackson with the words, “Annie are you ok? So Annie are you ok? Are you ok Annie?”

Twenty three minutes later she responded in typical Annie fashion. So on-brand and on-message.

“I’ll be ok if you vote for Roy Cooper and Christy Clark!”

I had wooed my Annie back with a meme. I felt like a millennial even though my lower back felt like a baby boomer. You can’t lean on a fence for an entire lacrosse game.

I needed a haymaker. A question that would cue her up for another day of political back and forth. Something that would re-energize our relationship like the first day we connected. I swung for the fences.

“What are they running for again?”

Nothing. No response. A full day went by and then two days and then a week without an answer from Annie. I was ghosted. My Annie was gone.

So I voted Republican.

I’m kidding. I’m kidding. Calm down. Maybe I voted Democrat, maybe I voted Republican, or maybe I (gasp) voted across party lines for candidates I support.

Godspeed Annie. We’ll always have the 2020 election season. HMU in 2024 if you ever figure out the name of Christy Clark’s dog.

Jon Show

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 10-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 7-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.