Tonight, I answered a blocked number, and, boy howdy, am I glad I did.
Most of the time, I don't answer blocked numbers. Usually when I do, I'm treated to an earful of bullhorn and a garbled, obnoxious voice saying, "This is your captain speaking! To receive your two free boarding passes...." I'm not into free boarding passes all that much, and unless it's Captain Crunch or Captain Kangaroo, there's no real reason to get excited, so I've never listened beyond that.
So when I was sitting in my teenaged son's room chatting about non-slip shoes and laptops, and the swirly blue earth popped up with the word "Blocked" above it, I almost didn't answer it.
But because I'm a writerly kind of person now, I sometimes get calls from people with intriguing story leads or uber-cool folks calling to make interview arrangments, or potential clients asking me to exchange some of my manufactured words for real, spendable money, so I tapped the green button. A chipper male voice asked if I was Alicia. While I was disappointed the call wasn't for me, it was nice to hear a regular human, and a friendly-sounding one at that, instead of a pushy steamboat captain who didn't even have the decency to offer me any sugary cereal.
After I apologized for not being Alicia and was about to get back to non-slip shoes, the chipper male voice said, "Wait! This is Denice, isn't it?"
Now, that's more like it.
"Yep, it sure is," I said.
"This is Donald Miller."
Oh. My. Gosh.
You know how you daydream about the day you get to talk to one of your heroes, the day you meet him on the street, or bump into her in the produce aisle, and you have your whole witty repartee scrawled out down to the last detail on the sticky notes in your brain?
Yeah. That was me.
I'd imagined talking to Donald Miller (because, I mean, really, it was bound to happen someday, right?) because his book Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality, was a pretty big deal to me, both as a Christian and as a writer. He'd talked about the things that were close to my heart, written about experiences with musicians that I'd had, too. He was a writer who spoke openly about his faith struggles, gave me permission to do the same. We were, you could say (or at least I could), kindred spirits. Naturally, we would pal around together some day, so I'd be a fool to be unprepared. So, of course, when he called and said, "This is Donald Miller," I knew just what to say.
It went a little something like this:
"It is not!" (imagine this shouted really, really loudly, and then up the volume a bit)
"Yes, it really is."
"It is NOT!" (same volume, I think, but a bit higher in pitch)
"Yes, it is. It really is."
"Prove it! PROVE it!"
But he didn't have to prove it. Not really. I knew it was him. I've watched videos. I've listened to podcasts. I know a Donald Miller voice when I hear one.
Besides, I'd known he and Steve Taylor were making phone calls tonight to thank Kickstarter supporters and movie reviewers on this, the opening weekend of the film, but since I'm in Ohio and the movie doesn't release here until April 20th, I didn't think for a minute I'd get a call.
It was a one-minute call. Sixty seconds of not-so-witty repartee on my end, cool-as-a-cucumber Donald on his end.
But even though I didn't stun my hero with my long-prepared dazzling wit, for that moment in time, life was pretty doggone amazing. During that one minute, I got to hear Donald Miller laugh. During that one minute, he told me he appreciated me, and I told him I appreciated him. During that one minute, he put me on speaker phone so I could say hello to some of the crew members. During that one minute, the world got a whole lot smaller (and it kinda spun around a little faster, too).
And it made me think about how many things I miss out on because I'm forever screening life's blocked numbers. I've really got to stop doing that. Because, yeah, I'm bound to pick up and get an earful of bullhorn every once in a while, but when it's not a steamboat captain, who knows who it could be? Maybe it's someone calling to thank me, to laugh with me, to appreciate me, to be appreciated.
I can put up with an obnoxious captain or two for a treasure like that.
And, in closing, go see the movie. That is all.