Did You Miss a Connection With Me??

I go through periods where I get really into the missed connections section of Craigslist. I love reading the sweet ones:

“To the cute girl who power walks every morning on the Queensway: You wear glasses, headphones, squeaky shoes, pink hoodie and have a nice smile. You also have this quirky habit of walking to the left – maybe you are trying to run into me! Would like to power walk with you by the lake.”

And the more explicit ones:

“To the girl I had sex with: We had hot sex in my condo’s parking garage with creative use of my belt. It’s been about a year or so. Let’s meet up again.”

I get to thinking about these people, imagining these two joggers who time their runs hoping to see each other every morning. He finally writes, she responds, though it’s out of character for her to take a chance and connect with someone this way, they fall in love and spend the rest of their lives together power walking by the lake and telling their kids their digital age love story. I wonder about the people doing it in the parking garage, namely, what did they do what that belt!? If the sex was so hot, why did they lose touch? Is she thinking about him too? Does she want to be found? Has she settled down with someone else because she thought she would never again find the person she had such hot sex with that one night in a parking garage?

I love imagining these people and their movie moments of reconciliation. I love thinking about how this one small post might change their whole life, be the moment they describe as ‘the moment.’But I guess, really, what I don’t like to admit is that deep down I am hoping to see myself on these pages. I am hoping to read some description of me. Not in any romantic way, just in a connectedness sort of way. Like I’m part of the planet sort of way. Like, maybe someone will appreciate the vintage dress I’m wearing.

“To the girl in the cute yellow cotton frock: did you get that dress on modcloth?”

“No! I bought it at St. Lawrence Market,” I’ll write back. “The little store by the side entrance whose name I can never remember.”

Or maybe some really cool girl will want to talk to me about books.

“You were going eastbound on the subway yesterday morning reading Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness. I’m also reading it! Let’s get together to chat.”

Then we’ll meet up for coffee and discuss how wonderfully insightful and energetically youthful is Keegan’s writing and then we’ll trade books and then get together regularly to discuss those books. She’ll also be a writer so we’ll start writing together and trading pieces we have written to edit for each other, until we eventually have babies at the exact same time and then we get together with our babies and lament how little time we have to write but how much we love being mothers.

This connection fantasy is a new one for me because I have always valued anonymity. I loved being a number among thousands in university lecture halls. I relish the feeling of indistinctness when I visit New York, of going completely unnoticed in large crowds. It’s a feeling I used to crave when I worked at a law firm, desperate for a solitude more enduring than locking my office door.

I have fished my wish, now, working from home, writing, and the thing is solitude, it catches up with you. I feel practically quarantined, finding myself unable to even remember how to make conversation. I go through whole days without uttering a sound, hopping from foot to foot by the end of so many quiet hours, waiting for my husband to come home: to talk to me, to be with me. The more alone I am, the more I withdraw. The more the idea of social interaction baffles me and terrifies me. I avoid even the coffee shop because of the chatty barista. I fear lunch plans, worried I won’t remember how to engage with another person, my voice sounding to me now like it does when you hear a recording of yourself. Was it always this squeaky??! I understand why they use solitary confinement at Guantanamo: nothing drives you crazier than yourself.

There is no one else in this with me. Nobody to work on things with, run ideas by, order dinner together on late nights. Nobody is looking for me. Nobody missed a connection with me. It’s just me here. Alone. With the door open or closed. And, after a while, I’m just not enough company.


(cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner: http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/)