STORYTIME: Pete Buttigieg Haunted My Drive to Campus

Photo Credit: Isabella Schlact

It all started on the long drive from home to campus. I’d passed hundreds of miles of midwestern cornfields. With no one to talk to me except my Shoeless Joe audiobook, my vision was starting to blur. I could barely read the highway sign that read, “South Bend: Next Exit.”

That’s when I heard the voice.

“If you build it…” 

A voice that sounded like a half-priced Barack Obama impersonator echoed through the car.  The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I gripped the steering wheel tighter and surveyed the road in front of me. No one in sight.

That definitely was just the audiobook narrator, right? I thought. Yeah, it was definitely from the audiobook. Just turn down the volume and focus on the road.

Ten minutes passed in silence. I thought I was in the clear when I heard it again.

“If you build it, he will…”

I pulled over to the side of the road, my heart pounding. 


“He will what?!” I screamed. “IF YOU BUILD IT, HE WILL WHAT?!”

More silence.

I looked out my window and saw a group of men emerging from the corn. I could barely make out the name “Pete” scrawled across the men’s shirts, when I was blinded by an intense golden glow. 

When my vision returned, former Democratic Primary candidate Pete Buttigieg was standing before me, his lips pursed into what I could only assume was a smile.

“If you build it,” he told me, “he will dance.”

Suddenly, my car radio started blaring “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco. I frantically tried to turn down the volume, but the knob wouldn’t budge. Pete and his team majestically began their official campaign dance from the 2020 Democratic primary, raising their hands in the air to the left and right, then rolling their hands downard to the left and right. 

Up left, up right, roll left, roll right.

Up left, up right, roll left, roll right.

I sat transfixed, tears welling in my eyes from the beauty of the moment. The music slowly faded as Pete walked closer to the car.

“I’ve gotta go,” he told me. “I have a podcast to record. Did you know they make microphones just for podcasts?”

I nodded.

“Thank you Pete,” I said, smiling. “Is this heaven?”

“No,” he replied. “This is South Bend, Indiana.”

I blinked, and Pete and his team were gone. I checked my GPS: 670 miles to Philadelphia. With a deep breath and a greater sense of clarity, I got back on the road.


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