People tell me that I earn my keep around here by thinking outside the box. I don’t know exactly what that means. I don’t think anybody does. It might just be a polite way of saying that nobody understands me. But then I try to parse the phrase and square it with my experience. I think it involves mentioning a variable that wasn’t in the formula that then changes the whole equation. I’m OK with that. I’ve always had a hard time focusing — the stuff moving around on the periphery never stops being interesting to me. So when I starting talking about how the Democratic dog fight between Obama and Hillary might have an impact on local elections, that seemed to catch people’s attention. So I decided to write about that. But I also wanted to try something new, so I made the points (that are admittedly modest) inside a narrative, most of which is exactly true. I hesitate to use conversation in essays, mostly because I tire of finding new and different ways to say “he said” all the time. But this one will work OK I hope. One friend read an early draft and said “this seems fairly atypical for you — which is typical for you.” May it ever be so.