The Cell Phone Girl & Barack Obama’s Prayer

I have been trying to find a good reason to write here again, but after rustling through the dry and withered collection of used-up motivations, I have been unable to find or create even one new one. The thrill of publishing online was effectively vaporized by the thrill of traditional analog publishing. The challenge of documenting the interesting bits of my life was also met when my book was completed. The ever-present call to creativity can be as easily answered off-line, and every intelligent bone in my body tells me if I do write something, it should rhyme.

Two events from today inform this post - if only in the very most oblique way.

I was in the hotel restaurant, here in Bathurst, New Brunswick, waiting for my all-day breakfast when an attractive girl, talking and laughing into her cell phone, and an equally attractive guy appeared at the entrance. The girl continued her casual phone conversation as they were led to their table. She was still talking as their menus were delivered. Her male friend stared into space. At about the point in time when I would have expected him to snatch the phone from her hand and throw it across the room, she laughed charmingly and said to the person on the other end of the call:

“So … how are you?”

A few minutes later - still on the phone - she reached over and stroked her restaurant friend on the cheek and pouted, as if to remind him that she required his attention as well.

After breakfast and back in my room, I read a story online about the prayer that Barack Obama had left in the Western Wall in Jerusalem - one of the holiest locations in Judaism - this morning.

Notes containing prayers are left, by people from all over the world, in the cracks of the wall, and are usually collected and buried at another sacred site. Obama’s note had been removed and given to the press.

The rabbi in charge of the Western Wall was angry.

“The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them,” the rabbi said.

Obama’s appropriated private prayer (which by now is all over the internet, if you want to read it) asks the Lord to help him guard against pride and despair. It’s a very succinct, simple, eloquent and beautiful prayer. Between a man and his maker.

It was after reading it that I was moved to finally write about why I can’t seem to write.