love · personal

Missed Connections

MISSED CONNECTIONS.png

Sometimes I get a song in my head, and I can’t let it go until I’ve listened to it many, many times. In fact, I listen to it so many times that everyone around me starts to wish the musical chords were literal cords, so I could be strangled to death slowly and painfully with the same weapon I’ve been wielding against them on repeat for a week.

Unfortunately, they’re rarely good songs. I almost never find myself playing all-time classics obsessively. It’s always something on the wrong side of annoyingly catchy. The lyrics float around in my head until I listen to it on a loop, and it doesn’t stop until my brain is completely oversaturated and screams, “ENOUGH! Enough. For the love of God, have mercy on me! No more!”

Then I take a musical break before moving on to the next one.

As a general example, a few of the recent deeply uncool songs that I’ve been fixated on almost to the point of muttering them in my sleep are:

  • Poor Unfortunate Souls (complete with voices, obviously) – The Little Mermaid
  • What’d I Miss – Hamilton
  • Havana – Camila Cabello
  • Friends on The Other Side – The Princess and The Frog
  • Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down

…It’s not exactly a well-curated list. They’re excellent shower songs, but not the sort of songs you want friends and family to hear you belting out at the top of your lungs over and over and over again for a week at a time.

All this to say that when something is bugging me, I tend to ‘lean in.‘ I feel the water lapping at my toes and instead of walking off to find a pair of sandals, I find the deep end and dive in head first.

I even do it with idle melancholy.

Sometimes, when I feel my own personal little thundercloud gathering overhead, I lean into it. I feed my melancholy with distressing news stories. I particularly focus on the sort of story where some witness or family member says things like, “We could never have imagined this” or “We never expected it.” By reading it, by imagining it and, for a moment, expecting it, my mind seems to superstitiously cling to the idea that I have innoculated myself against it ever happening to me.

I have yet to read an off-the-wall, tragic news story where someone nods sagely and says, “Well I had actually thought this might happen…”

Anyway. I digress.

Along similar lines, in times past when my heart was well and truly broken, I went looking for other, even-more-broken hearts. I absorbed their sadness like a sorrow sponge and completely enveloped myself in a morose grey mist of misery. Craigslist was my crack. I would choose cities in the US at random – places I’d never even looked at on a map – and I would search for the people in pain.

If that sounds messed up… I mean, it probably is.

I felt like I was somehow recognising their grief by spending time with it, by feeling my heart squeeze for a stranger on the other side of the world, by distracting myself from my heartbreak with the far-worse, more sympathy-worthy heartbreak of somebody else.

If you’re wondering how Craigslist fits into this story, let me explain. For those of you not familiar with it, Craigslist is an online message board with many sections, and one of them is dedicated to Missed Connections.

I’ve lifted this one straight from the NY section to give you an example:

You: Dog Sitting in Bushwick. We Met Outside Roberta’s – w4m

body: average
age: 28
We sat on a bench outside Roberta’s on Sunday night. We talked about dog sitting and our fear of getting old. We made a joke that we’re all the same age – you, me, and the dog. It was dark. You were wearing black, with short hair and a very handsome smile. You have a birthday on Wednesday. I went inside to get my pizza. I wrote my number on a Post-It note and went back outside to give it to you and you were gone. You had disappeared into the night! I wish I’d been quicker.

Email me if you’re out there – I’d love to get to know you better. – K

The idea is to help you find that mysterious woman that was throwing your flirty glances across the platform of the tube, or that charming man you got into conversation with in the line for the till. It’s a Hail Mary into the echoing void for people who were too shy, too uncomfortable, or too slow to get the number of that someone with the split-second spark.

Most are… not exactly thoughtful. Many are rated R. There’s also a lot of:

Blue Dress – m4w

Blonde in blue dress and heels walking in Midtown last Thursday. Very hot. Let’s get drinks!

I know. Romantic, right?

Still, in the depths of my heartbreak (and I can’t for the life of me remember how this – could we even call it a hobby? – started) I would scroll through the Missed Connections section of random cities, searching for the rare posting that was less a missed connection and more a plea to the past. The ones that hit me right in the gut and made me want to reach out and hug the people who had written them. The ones that made me laugh, or choke up, or just think about the lives of others for a while.

And when I found one, I would write it down in my sketchpad.

I found that sketchpad last week while cleaning out my wardrobe, and I thought this might be a good place for those missed connections that I had tucked away in physical form. Maybe this blog could let them breathe their thin little wisps of wistfulness into a new online home.

Naturally, when I went to get the notebook an hour ago, I couldn’t find it. It has vanished into the Safe Place; that portal into another dimension that appears whenever I use the words “I’m just going to put this in a safe place…” and then closes up again, never to be seen again.

So safe it’s non-existent anymore.

In the end, to finish this post, I had to revive my old heartbreak hobby and trawl through the tawdry for more treasure (how’s that for alliteration?).

Here are ten Missed Connections, edited for brevity and presented without further ado:

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into y (8)************************************************************

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into y (7)************************************************************

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into y (6)************************************************************

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into y (5)

************************************************************

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into y (4)

************************************************************

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into y (3)

************************************************************

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into y (2)

************************************************************

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into y (1)

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'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into you a************************************************************

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into y (9)

************************************************************

…And a bonus one!

 

'm sorry. I'm so tired. I haven't stopped thinking about you in over a year. You're always there. I just want to fall into (10)

 

5 thoughts on “Missed Connections

  1. Well, where to start on this….first of all, awesome post as usual. You find some very clever/brutally honest things to write about. I can really appreciate that. Thank you.
    Second of all, I have to admit that I have written two or three missed connections for the Toronto/North York area. Thankfully you were only cruising the US sights, or you would have come across my feeble attempts to contact women that I spoke to on the bus–because, I probably wouldn’t write about someone I hadn’t talked to (though, to be fair, I might have….I really should check that before I make any bold statements.)
    Sadly, no one has ever written back.
    Come to think of it, there are several instances in my blog (The Woman who loved Chopin, The women with beautiful eyes…etc.) where I am probably writing my own missed connections column. Sadly, no one has responded their either.

  2. Can something be hopeless and hopeful at the same time? Or should that be someone? I want to think there are people who actually make the connection. If not then they get to move I knowing they did ghat one last thing to try. Sorry, I guess I thought the same thing about the personals back in my days (which at the very least gave us Desperately Seeking Susan).

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