Raphael Bob-Waksberg wrote a piece this week called “Missed Connections” that became an instant viral hit. I tracked it down via Comedian Adam Konover’s link and found it both hilarious and poignant. Although my knowledge of the New York City subway system is limited, I found the stations as markers of the long journey a very funny touch.
This morning my husband and I tracked down Bob-Waksberg’s story again and we both learned, to our surprise, that “Missed Connections” is a regular feature of Craig’s List. Who knew? Not I. There are hundreds of entries by subway passengers who saw someone at such-and-such a stop, didn’t get up the nerve to say anything and now want to connect—to get a do-over on the missed connection. This revelation served not only to make Raphael’s story even funnier but also to remind me that, though I consider myself pretty good (age-adjusted, of course) at using social media, I’m clueless. I’d never heard of the Missed Connections page but I think it’s a great that it gives all those shy people a second chance to live out their fantasies.
Missed connections is also a wonderful premise for a work of fiction, but not for people who want a satisfying ending. In a long-ago writing group, my friend Sandra Bails wrote a short story about a man and woman in a museum perusing paintings, making eye contact as they passed from room to room, never speaking but keenly aware of each other’s presence. Then they left the museum separately. Say, what???? I have wondered for years what happened to those two. Maybe one of them came back to the museum every day, hoping to connect. Or maybe outside on the sidewalk, he turned to her, they looked into each other’s eyes, she took hold of his sleeve with her hand… No—wait, that was Judy Garland on a trolley.
I’ve been lucky when it comes to Missed Connections. In 1975, ten years after a summer romance, I cut in front of my former boyfriend on the Eastshore Freeway in Berkeley and he recognized me. We took the same off-ramp, he caught up with me at a stoplight, and…a very satisfying ending ensued. Dear Reader, I married him.
So let’s hear it for all those hopeful souls! Hey, you!—the small brunette with the big bag and jangly bracelets who traded glances with that foot-tapping hottie on the F train—or you—the intimidated guy on the E who played eye tag with a very pretty woman who was wearing white lace over a black shirt and got off at 57th and 7th—may all your subway stories have satisfying endings.