All was pretty quiet here in my third-story grad-student office at the University of Washington, my desk piled high with dusty books.
Then my cellphone rang, with an “802” area code. I answered.
“Hello, my name is Robert,” a voice told me. “You have been selected to participated in an automated poll.” He/it went on to ask if I planned on “supporting” (1) President Obama, (2) Mitt Romney, (3) Rick Santorum, (4) Ron Paul, or (5) Newt Gingrich.
“0” was reserved for “other or undecided.”
I found the order a bit odd, but I made my choice. The voice then said, “Thank you for participating. Goodbye.”
Once the call ended I was left back in the comparative silence of my office. It felt like I was in Ohio or Colorado or some other state that usually matters more in these kinds of contests. But then I remembered that, well, Washington does matter, more than usual this year.
Thank you, Mr. Robo-Robert, for the reminder.