I finally got one. A missed connection.
I've been trolling the craigslist missed connections for at least seven years. For those unfamiliar, it's a public forum where the lonely souls of the city can post cryptic notes for random strangers they pass on Eighth Avenue or stand next to in line at the Best Buy in White Plains in the hopes that they will rekindle their 30-second relationship over drinks on the Lower East Side. They go something like this: " You were wearing a blue top walking to dunkin donuts & back - m4w - 38 ". And they are wonderful.
I say that I semi-obsessively peruse MCs (the preferred abbreviation for posters) out of some innate voyeuristic tendency, or to see what the kids are up to (there is a high percentage of posts from the Williamsburg hipster set, which was more entertaining before Craig or whoever created a new section called "rants and raves" where all of the raging debates over whether or not Asian men do it better or the best remedy for athlete's foot now live, separate from the usual "saw you on the L train - m4w 24"), but deep down, I'm looking for a post for me. From that guy at brunch who looked at me twice as he sopped up hollandaise sauce with the nub of his biscuit. From the guy in the deli buying Pocky and olives who said "pardon" as he brushed past me. From that guy on the train reading Lolita
who lifted his eyes from the page, disguising his outright lust for me by pretending to ponder poor Double H's dilemma.
Scrolling through the posts, I find myself morphing into the "red head on Graham Avenue - m4w 31." My hair does look reddish in certain lights. Certain reddish lights. Of which there are several on Graham Avenue, if you happen to know the street. I was riding the LIRR wearing a blue beret and tights yesterday, right? (Answer: no, not in a million years.) That's what makes MCs so addictive: the posts are so random and unspecific that you just feel like you have
to get one someday. After all of the eye contact with strangers I've participated in over the last seven years, I deserve
one, damn it.
So. Here's the story. I was reading Philip Larkin's Collected Poems
on the G train two Sundays ago, traveling to Brooklyn Heights from Williamsburg. Just before the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop, I closed my book and looked up and to my right at a blondish man wearing a black winter hat and a black pea coat. Cute, and sort of smiling at me. My face contorted into kind of a death mask and I looked down, busying myself with putting Phil back into my bag. I looked up again. He was still smiling, this time a bit wider, but still no teeth. I smiled with my eyes only, then leapt from my seat and jumped off the train (I had to transfer, I swear). Once I landed safely on the platform, I glanced back into the car I had just left. A broad grin from the smiler. Since he was at a safe distance, sealed into the train car, I responded with a real smile, teeth and eyes and everything (which feels wholly unnatural anywhere on the MTA, but that's neither here nor there). His train pulled away and my face resumed its normal masklike status.
Cut to Monday morning. I checked my nine email accounts, my horoscope, the New York Times
. Then I checked craigslist. There it was, like a shiny penny on a cracked mud-gray sidewalk: "On the G train Sunday night - m4w 28". Click. What unfurled before my misty eyes was Philip Larkin's "First Sight
," and one other sentence: "I was wearing a black coat and a black hat." I was in love. I was the lamb in the snow.
We emailed; we met. On the Lower East Side. He was a coffee connoisseur (read: snob), a curiously staunch defender of the west coast (we talked about San Francisco and apparently he was offended by the fact that I didn't love it as much as he did, or something), and was moving to LA in two weeks. This last nugget confused me: why make a highly romantic overture to a complete stranger just before you are moving 3,000 miles away from said stranger? I figured it was to get laid, which insulted me and my romantic sensibilities. Lamb in the snow, people!
I left the date, underwhelmed and drunk and definitely not in love with this guy. But I was still in love with the way we met. So despite the outcome of this story, later this afternoon, when I go to the deli in my blue beret, I'll eye-smile at my future husband as he reaches for a hunk of mozzarella or a bundle of fresh basil, then run home and check missed connections.