Someone on Brooklyn Craigslist has posted what large swaths of the Internet are proclaiming the Greatest Missed Connection Ever– or at least the Ultimate Missed Connection, although the folks over at BrainPicker contend that it’s actuallythis one.
But it’s pretty great, I have to say. It starts:
I saw you on the Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Q train.
I was wearing a blue-striped t-shirt and a pair of maroon pants. You were wearing a vintage red skirt and a smart white blouse. We both wore glasses. I guess we still do.
You got on at DeKalb and sat across from me and we made eye contact, briefly. I fell in love with you a little bit, in that stupid way where you completely make up a fictional version of the person you’re looking at and fall in love with that person. But still I think there was something there.
Several times we looked at each other and then looked away. I tried to think of something to say to you — maybe pretend I didn’t know where I was going and ask you for directions or say something nice about your boot-shaped earrings, or just say, “Hot day.” It all seemed so stupid.
At one point, I caught you staring at me and you immediately averted your eyes. You pulled a book out of your bag and started reading it — a biography of Lyndon Johnson — but I noticed you never once turned a page.
My stop was Union Square, but at Union Square I decided to stay on, rationalizing that I could just as easily transfer to the 7 at 42nd Street, but then I didn’t get off at 42nd Street either. You must have missed your stop as well, because when we got all the way to the end of the line at Ditmars, we both just sat there in the car, waiting.
I cocked my head at you inquisitively. You shrugged and held up your book as if that was the reason.
Still I said nothing.
We took the train all the way back down — down through Astoria, across the East River, weaving through midtown, from Times Square to Herald Square to Union Square, under SoHo and Chinatown, up across the bridge back into Brooklyn, past Barclays and Prospect Park, past Flatbush and Midwood and Sheepshead Bay, all the way to Coney Island. And when we got to Coney Island, I knew I had to say something.
Still I said nothing.
And so we went back up.
It continues in this vein, becoming what I would call “a poignant meditation on love, fear, and missed opportunities” if I were writing a book jacket for it, but fortunately I’m not, so we were all spared that.
For sixty years, we sat in that car, just barely pretending not to notice each other. I got to know you so well, if only peripherally. I memorized the folds of your body, the contours of your face, the patterns of your breath. I saw you cry once after you’d glanced at a neighbor’s newspaper. I wondered if you were crying about something specific, or just the general passage of time, so unnoticeable until suddenly noticeable. I wanted to comfort you, wrap my arms around you, assure you I knew everything would be fine, but it felt too familiar; I stayed glued to my seat.
It’s great. Read the whole thing.
But I would argue it’s not the greatest Missed Connection of all time but rather the peak of a certain genre of missed connection.
As someone who used to spend considerable time browsing there, just in case the long minutes I spent gazing pointedly over my copies of Moby Dick at unsuspecting passersby while wearing distinctive color combinations (You: Bright Orange Scarf, Wizard Cloak In Purple, Teal Shorts) were going to pay off, I think there are actually eight distinct types of missed connection.
1) (Of which the above is the pinnacle) Artistic Poetic, Probably Fictional Missed Connection. (“You: A fleeting dream, grasped in my fingers a moment, like watered silk… Me: A husk! A wisp! A moment! Or was I?”) Most of these are abysmal heaps of crud.
2) The Other Person Definitely, Definitely Did Not See You, and This Whole Exercise Is Creepy. Here is an actual example: “Black jeans, striped shirt – m4w (EMarket) You were on train with me this afternoon. Walked out same time. You are hot in that innocent sort of way. Nice eyes. ;).” You are a creeper. She did not see you. You need to go home and rethink your life.
3) You Talked, and the Other Person Wasn’t Into You But Was Too Polite to Say So. (“We were on the train together and had a nice chat about zoos! What won’t those Siberian tigers come up with next? You said you were from Rosslyn. Let’s get coffee there sometime! My treat, tiger!”) Look, if she wanted to give you her number, she would have given you her number, tiger. Here’s an “>actual example: Mom at Taco Bell today – m4w – 47 (Reston) We chatted briefly while waiting for lunch indoors. 20 years in Reston, eh? You’ve got me by about 5 years. I think you were with your daughter. Can we meet again?” No.
4) This Person Has Made a Point of Blocking You on Every Form of Social Media He or She Has Access To, So You Are Posting Long Passive Aggressive Screeds in The Missed Connections Section of Craigslist. Actual example: “Re: The Game~?? – w4m The way you took like this discrive the reason why I can’t get into you. I wonder if you have ever loved someone very much and thought about building your familly life with responsibility….
You seem to be still in your imagination and I don’t need to change it since it must be one of your good charactor for someone. We are different in many points depends on our experience and it mean no wonder if we are sometimes not confortable each other. That’s all.” Ma’am, this gentleman has blocked you for a reason.
5) This Really Isn’t A Missed Connection, In Fact, You’re a Little Unclear on The Concept. Here’s an example: “I miss that brown skin, hairy skin..i miss that cigarets smell on you..I miss that wide shoulders and bold head.I missed how u were tall and hug you and jumping on you.. I really missed.I missed touching, kissing, smelling,cuddling playing all night.I missed your food which u made for me. But i think i can’t find you anymore. I wish i can find a guy like him.. Please send me your pics.. Respond me back with “Miss you” Sir or madam, this is not a missed connection. This is you asking for a stranger’s pics.
6) You Actually Hope to See This Person Again. You actually had a connection, but then Some Unforeseen Thing happened and you couldn’t get his/her/shark carcass’s contact info. Of course, the odds of her seeing this are about 3,720 to 1.
7) Too-Cute-By-Half Literary Reference. (“Holden: You remember me from summer. I used to keep all my kings in the back row.”)
8) This Really Could Be Anyone. This goes something like “You: In a car, looking good. Me: In the crosswalk, admiring. Hit me up. Location: Continental United States.) Odds are good, but it’s less a Missed Connection than a dragnet approach to dating.