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We’d need only a skeleton crew, the usual for live after-hours events: an editor, a couple of producers, and a booker, me.

During my time there I’d become used to giving up the occasional night for the State of the Union, or the New Hampshire primary.

I concocted elaborate fantasies of our future together, Carville-Matalin style, heated dinner-table debates rapidly transitioning to fiery bedroom nights. (“I’m going out with a Republican,” I explained to the stern Russian blonde at the salon, a vision in stiffness and white, as she wielded wands of hot wax above my pelvis. We both went home for Christmas, and commiserated about coping with family. He didn’t dance around his interest like the meek liberal men I’d been dating, who could hardly ask to walk me home without tripping over themselves, ever fearful that a single direct gesture might upend 50 years of feminism. We both took great pains to exploit the exoticism of our difference. With two blondes.” I was never really sure if he was kidding.

“Oh,” she replied, deepening her brows as she tried to discern how this related to the neglect of my pubic hair since roughly the late 1990s. He’d ask about my parents and what I wanted in life. Now it feels painfully predictable, but at the time it was only exciting; he’d tease me about being a hemp-clothed, unwashed liberal, and I’d retort with snide comments about hunting and hair gel. It was nearing midnight when the cell phone video of Saddam’s hanging began to appear on the TV screens: the mustache, the long black overcoat, the men wearing facemasks and murmuring in Arabic, the noose.

I began to feel the same kind of manic impatience I’d had as an 18-year-old virgin, as though something essential still stood between me and womanhood.

I wouldn’t rest until I’d found some Big Love, some True Connection, some age-appropriate dreamboat who would make me laugh, inspire and arouse me, and, finally, make me feel whole.

“You might need this,” she said, before going home to her husband and kids.

“You don’t know how long you’re going to be here.” Over the course of the afternoon it had become clear that the hanging would take place, and that it would take place late, and that our show would be responsible for generating coverage when it did.

He was a sensitive musician with an esoteric affection for Tim Russert.

On Sunday mornings we’d eat breakfast over the and bemoan President Bush’s latest flubs.

But this was the first (and last) time that an execution would disrupt my evening plans.

I should have cared about what was happening in Iraq.

There is always something absurd about being a journalist during big events—elections, disasters, hangings.