February 14, 2006

The Annals of Missed Connections

The Annals of Missed Connections

Being single on valentines day this year, I’ve got to wonder are any of these for me….in a social or business situation did I ignore the signs and signals someone else was sending me? Did I miss out, was I so oblivious or acted completely uninterested, and are they trying again to get my attention in this harmless forum?

Cori Poletto, in an email to Open Source on 2/14/06

(Almost) met her on a Sunday and my heart stood still [reduktiv/Flickr]

It’s the age-old story of lives too soon parted. We met at that party, spoke of Nietzsche, you vanished; I gaped at you on the train before you were swept off into the cruel and shifting crowds of Copley Square; I held your legs down when you were having a seizure, but the paramedics rushed you out of my life. The Missed Connections pages are the refuge and the remedy for those of us whose Monday-morning quarterbacking outperforms our seize-the-moment spontaneity.

It’s Carpe Yesterday.

People read these daily, follow threads closer than they follow the news. What’s the obsession about? Is it just an innocuous way to spread a little sunshine? When so many posts seem like a complete shot in the dark, do these ever actually work for anyone?

And why can’t we just start approaching people when we like the looks of them?

We asked as much on Missed Connections pages from Boston to San Francisco and the emails rolled in.

There’s something about missed connections that keeps me coming back to read more over and over again. I’m not working in an office where I can follow juicy gossip or others heartache or success stories. It’s a curiosity I have for other’s social mishaps or successes, living vicariously through them…it’s like the choose your own adventure books I used to read when I was little. Following related posts are like reading a nancy drew mystery. I will always be a fan.

Cori Poletto, in an email to Open Source on 2/14/06

I’ve recently become completely hooked on MC. It’s sort of like eavesdropping on the unconscious half-thoughts, murmurings, and anxieties (as well as conscious desires and dysfunctions) of several hundred people, all at once, without leaving the house. I think of MC readers as the 21st century equivalent of Baudelaire’s flanneur, but we don’t have to go to downtown. It’s fabulous.

Anonymous eavesdropping seems to be kind of a thing right now; missed connections reminds me of Found magazine, except craigslist is more in the realist genre whereas Found is kind of like a self-help manual — a little too sunny and upbeat about our neighbors and how much we either have in common or are better off, psychologically, aesthetically, and/or intellectually, than they are.

Rekha, in an email to Open Source on 2/15/06

I have a good one for you. I met a girl I was really into and on our first date, after she pretty much told me she didn’t want a relationship, we talked about missed connections and she told me that she’d always wished somebody had written one for her… The next day, elated over the date, full of feeling, and a little sad that she thought she didn’t want to see me anymore, I wrote her a fake one, sort of from the perspective of someone else, ostensibly in the restaurant, observing us having a good time, but also from me. anyway, she liked my post and decided to date me…When I proposed, in Vegas, I did it in the form of another missed connections post, from the same guy’s POV. This time “he’d” been following “me” around when “we” were ring shopping. We’re getting married in october.

Charles Blackstone, in an email to Open Source on 2/10/06

I often read the Missed Connections, and some of the posters there display a level of detailed attraction that makes me say, “Why didn’t you just say something at the time, you spineless amoeba!”

But you–you said something to the chick on the Red Line this morning. You and she stood at opposite doors, facing each other… You had a slight smile on your face, and seemed like a nice enough guy. As the train began to slow down as it pulled into the station, she began to jockey for position to get off the train. There was this perfect moment when the both of you were facing each other; you smiled at her and cheerfully said, “I like your belt.”

She said something, probably, “What?” or “Excuse me?” because you repeated, “I like your belt.” She said thank you and smiled a bit, but also looked wary. She moved to exit the train, and you let her and the other passengers by with the grace of a head waiter showing customers to their seats. You continued to smile with a bit of an “Oh well” look, but you didn’t look defeated at all, not by a longshot.

I salute you, “I like your belt” guy.

anon-94319146, “I Like Your Belt??? Guy, You Rock. craigslist: chicago

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