big news in America last week was Hillary Clinton's 3am phone
call ad. In it she said if there were a crisis and the phone in
the White House rang at 3am, Americans could feel safe with her
answering it. She had the experience to know what to do.
Naturally everyone assumed this experience comes from being Bill's
wife. How many times did the phone ring in the middle of the night
the last time she was at the White house. "Don't read the
Starr report!" Or, "Is your husband with you? We can't
The Obama camp countered her ad and then McCain's wife made a
statement - soon the question of the day was: who do the American
people want answering the phone at three in the morning. What's
wrong with Bill Clinton? Why not. It's not like he has to wake
Since when did 3am become the defining hour of the world's destiny?
You'd think one of the candidates would be a little original and
claim they can answer a phone at 2.30am. Also no one explained
what would happen if that call went to voicemail. So many questions.
I suppose being able to think clearly at 3am is a mark of a true
leader. I wouldn't know. I switch my phone off before I go to
sleep precisely to avoid being woken up with an emergency. I can't
handle a crisis until I have my contact lenses in and some coffee.
Then again, I tend to assume something bad has occurred whenever
the phone rings. My first instinct is to worry. Forget 3am, I'm
anxious when the phone rings at three in the afternoon.
I used to go out with someone who was so calm that when his phone
rang in the middle of the night his first reaction was to assume
it was a wrong number and he wouldn't pick up. That drove me nuts.
Every call was a potential missed emergency.
Now that I'm no longer in a relationship, I don't worry about
getting calls in the middle of the night, I'm more concerned about
making them. If there were a 3am crisis, who would I call?
Who is my "in case of emergency" call? When the airlines
ask for this information, I never know who to put down. I can't
put my father, it would be too stressful for him. Plus he's a
deep sleeper; if the call came past midnight he wouldn't wake
Sometimes I'll put my friend Liza. But she's got enough going
on - the airline would leave a message and there's a good chance
she'd forget to call back.
I've thought of nominating an ex-boyfriend. That would be fun.
My plane has crashed, I'm dead, and he's stuck with having to
call everyone and tell them the news.
One time, I couldn't think of who to put so I wrote: CNN. It seemed
like a good idea. They could put the announcement on the television
tickertape that no one reads.
In between the "Killer tornado in Florida" and "Eva
Mendes back in rehab" they could mention I was no longer
Putting someone down as your 'in case of emergency' person is
tricky. It's a lot of responsibility that nobody wants. Except
maybe Hillary Clinton. Next time I'll put her down. What are the
chances she'll pick up?