The amber alert for New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has been canceled.
Ms. Dowd, AKA MoDO, Mo Dimaggio, Reen & The Blue State Redhead contacted authorities Friday and diclosed her whereabouts, which she described as being" Somewhere south of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. "
Details are sketchy, but here is what we know at this point in this developing, late breaking story.
In February of this year, Ms. Dowd had established an email relationship with a man in Rhode Island. Shortly after this, the Pulitzer Prize winning writer disappeared from the op-ed page of the New York Times, where her columns had been running Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Ms. Dowd's column had been running for years on Wednesdays and Sundays. Sources close to the Op-Ed page report that Ms. Dowd was distraught over the change in days on which her column appeared.
" Wednesday and Sunday is great, " said one source ( Not Judy Miller ) . " Tuesday's not bad, but Saturday? Nobody reads the Times on Saturday. They're all out playing golf and mah jongg or preparing for their parties that night. "
Sources also say that Dowd lost interest in writing her 750 word essays.
" She started writing back and forth to this guy in Rhode Island, " a source ( Not Frank Rich ) said. He made her laugh. She emailed him back with ' Funny. ' And ' That's funny. ' She was loving it. Her mood was better than ever, and she was writing the kinds of things she always wanted to write. Heartfelt stuff. None of those pun filled things she'd been laboring on for years. And short! One word and two word messages. 749, 748 words less than her column. "
Another source ( Not David Brooks ) said, " So she decides to pack in in, hop in her car and drive to Rhode Island. The email thing played itself out. She wanted more than just a cyberspace relationship with this guy. She wanted to get into his real space, which is somewhere south of Pawtucket. "
Dowd revealed today that she and the man from Rhode Island have been " traveling " for the past three weeks. She declined to reveal the man's name.
" He's rather shy and doesn't want the attention, " Dowd said. " He's the least self-indulgent person I've ever met. "
She did say that the man is a writer and that he has a blog.
" But it's not what you might think, " she said. " It's not a MySpace kind of blog at all. It's so much better than that. Like if Joyce Carol Oates had a blog. Or Don DeLillo, or Montaigne ya know? "
Dowd said that she and he rented a car and " Headed west. "
" He'd never driven cross country, " Dowd said. " And neither had I. So off we went. He drove. He's a very nervous passenger and had a couple of panic attacks as we drove through some tunnels and over some bridges. I thought he was going to stop the car and jump from that bridge in St. Louis. You know,the one that crosses the Mississippi? "
Dowd describes the adventure as being, " Like Thelma and Dom DeLouise. "
" But it wasn't a Thunderbird, it was a Toyota Corolla. And we didn't drive over the edge of a cliff, although there were times as we were driving over the Rockies that I thought that might happen. He was SO nervous driving through those canyons. "
Asked whether she planned to resume her column in the Times, Dowd said, " I'm up in the air about that right now. We'll see what happens. I'd still like to be near Rich on Sundays. "
Frank Rich writes a weekly 1,500 word essay - accompanied by a graphic - in the Sunday Times. He was not immediately available for comment concerning this story.