It was one of those weeks: crazy phone calls and emails. Well, it was a full moon week, so ...
The caller asked: "Why aren't you people at the newspaper reporting about the Mayan calendar - the end of the world, you know?"
The Mayan calendar? I responded.
"Typical," the caller sneered. "You don't know anything about it, do you?"
Well, I said, I know some people believe the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, because that's when the ancient Mayan calendar ends. Is that about right?
"Close enough for one of you media types," he said. "It's just the biggest news in the history of the world, and you people aren't reporting it. Typical."
You know, I ventured, there is no scientific evidence that the Mayans were predicting the end of the world. None. Just because their calendar seems to end - and there's some debate about that - doesn't mean much ...
"Oh, yeah? What about the planet alignment that's coming up at the same time? What about that? That's science, isn't it?"
OK, I said, but why would it mean the end of the world? I suppose one could find alignments in the cosmos depending upon where one is standing ...
"You just don't get it," he said. "It's over. It's coming to an end. The Mayans knew, even if you don't, you smart-ass."
The Mayans? I said. Why would anyone take the Mayans seriously? Not exactly a successful civilization, were they? Gone, right? The world ended for them a long time ago, right?
"Don't get smart with me," he said, his anger rising. "It's over. You'll be sorry."
OK, I said, just to be safe, let me wish you a Merry Christmas 2012.
He responded with a crude expletive and hung up.
"I'm a tea party person," the caller said.
I braced for the worst. It's been my experience that the tea party folks - the political brew - can be unpleasant. What can I do for you? I asked. Do you want to talk politics?
"Politics?" she said. "Heavens no! I have tea parties. I invite people to my home for tea. Usually in the afternoon. But they don't come when I tell them I'm having a tea party ..."
I don't understand, I said. You mean you're not talking about politics? You know, the tea party movement?
"Heavens no!" she said. "Just tea and pastries. I get them from that wonderful shop downtown, you know."
Uh, huh. So what can I do for you?
"They don't come," she said. "They think a tea party is a rally or something. I tell them it's just tea, but they don't come."
Have you told them it's just tea? I asked.
"Yes, of course," she said, frustration in her small voice, "but they won't come over. One of my dearest friends said the whole tea party thing has given tea parties a bad name. Now isn't that silly? What does she mean?"
She probably means the political stuff, I said, and I explained as best I could the politics of the tea party movement.
"Well, that is silly," she said. "It's just ruined my tea parties." She paused and said: "Would you like to come over for tea?"
Love to, I said. For tea, not politics.
Contact Editorial Page Editor Jack Zaleski at (701) 241-5521.