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2002-10-16 10:30 p.m.

I always look forward to seeing my mom and nana. They come to visit me at work and take me to lunch at least once a week. Sometimes we have sushi, sometimes we eat at my work, but most of the time I convince them that we should eat at Chipotle.

On one of our recent Chipotle lunch excursions I had the luck to run into Libby. Libby is a corporate marketing person for Chipotle. She was at ChipotleFest 2k2 and gave us the t–shirts that Skot and I wore in our infamous "Chipotle Sassy" photo series. (She also gave us hugs. Even though the shirts made a great prop, the hugs will last far longer in my memory.)


Two compelling reasons not to have children.

Libby seemed so excited to see me, which flattered me to no end. I am always so pleased when people remember me and know my name. It makes me feel like I am in some way special or important in their life—if even for a moment.

Libby. Not only is she charming and warm, but she also has the powers to shoot lava from her fingertips. Ok. I made up the part about the lava.

She told me what was going on in her life, and I told her what was happening in mine. I told her how her business card sits on my desk and I look at it all the time. It is one of those cards which does not exactly have a place. So, it never gets filed; it never gets discarded, either.

When I got back to work after lunch, I emailed her and told her how happy I was to see her. I of course threw in a bunch of shameless links to various projects I have my hands in—writing, music, etc.

A few days passed. I went to my mailbox like I do twice each day—once around 11AM and once around 3PM. A huge envelope from Chipotle waited patiently for me in the mailbox! I checked the return address and I immediately knew it was from Libby, since her business card (complete with address, phone number, and all) has been part of my office landscape for many months now.

Nothing gets me excited like mail does. It makes me want to jump up and down and talk in the kind of loud, boisterous voice that bothers quiet, more reserved people.

The envelope was heavy and unbalanced. It was as if there was something metal that slid around from one end of the long envelope to the other when I tilted it. What could it be?

I wanted to make sure I documented this experience, so I ran to get my camera. Then I carefully opened the envelope.

In it was a Chipotle newsletter with a little article about ChipotleFest 2k2. When I say a little article, I really mean little. I practically needed to use a microscope to find it. The whole article was about 4" tall, which made each of the images about the size of a small postage stamp. The text played havoc with my eyes, even with my glasses on. Excuse me, Mr. Chipotle Newsletter. You forgot to include the microfiche reader with my issue!

If you have ever seen the Chinese people who can etch stuff onto a grain of rice, then you have some idea of the physical dimensions of this article. It is only through the miracle of science (aka Photoshop) that I can bring this rare image to you. This is MUCH larger than actual size.

But, even though we were only 1/80,000 our actual size, we were there! On the cover of their corporate newsletter! What a fantastic day for microfiche and microfilm readers around the world!

There was something else in the envelope, too! It was...another envelope! It was matte white and my name was written on it with the kind of handwriting every mother wishes their child had. There was something inside—it felt heavy and clanky.

I opened the greeting–card–sized envelope like Charlie opened each Willy Wonka chocolate bar—savoring each tiny division of time, carefully anticipating what might be inside.

It was a note from Libby! The black words on the white card pleased my eyes so much. If handwriting could be described by flavor, her penmanship would taste like simple–but–elegant, Victorian southern comfort meets The Future. Half of it reminded me stuff that only exists in books like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The other half looked like a font suitcase that dot–coms would have splurged on in 1998.

The smiley face with her salutation seemed out of place, though. I decided to not look at the smiley face any more—it took away some of the joy I got from the handwriting.

Her words were casual, informal. The sentiment was kind and friendly in an acquaintance sort of way. There were two limited–edition coins inside. I rubbed them between my thumb and forefinger to acquaint myself with their weight and texture and temperature. I turned the coins over in my hands and showed them off to my friends at work. We speculated as to how much it cost to have coins like that made; we discussed whether or not I should redeem them for burritos.

Mostly I wondered what it would be like to get a real letter in that handwriting. Would the perfect pen marks of black on white distract me from the meaning of the words? Maybe. Maybe not. It was all just speculation, really. And soon the speculation got lost in the moment again, just like I did.

And the day went on.