Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Missed (Dis) Connections

When I was looking for part-time work on Craigslist a few years ago, I couldn't help noticing the "Missed Connections" ads in the personals section. If you've never heard of it, it's a series of personal ads where people will post messages to strangers who caught their attention, in the hopes that those people will read those ads and respond to them. There's something sweet and hopeful about it, even if the chances are a million to one that the person will actually respond.

(I found the ad above from collegehumor.com, but the ones below are mine. :)

On the other hand, sometimes the ads are weird and a little creepy; occasionally you might see an ad that reads something like this:

Girl on the 56 bus:
You were the beautiful girl in a blue dress on the 56 bus heading south. I was the guy in dark sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt, silently stalking you from a few seats away. If you ever want someone to follow you around and watch every move you make with binoculars, I'm your man.

What do you think of those ads? If you were/are single, would you ever try placing one? I don't think I'd ever place a "missed connection" ad, just because it's doubtful that whoever I almost "connected" with will ever read it, and it's possible that my friendly neighborhood sociopath might respond to it. But on the other hand, there are a few random people who I've come across that I wouldn't mind seeing again, if only so that I could say the following things to them:

Red line train:
There was a whole crowd of us waiting to get on the train during rush hour. You were the woman standing behind me who kept jabbing at my back with your purse because you were trying to push me out of the way. I hope to see you again soon, because then I can introduce your purse to my flame thrower.

I was standing in line at Jewel-Osco, waiting to pay for my groceries. You were the guy buying steak and potatoes, and you cut in front of me at the last minute, then refused to move even after I told you that I was first. I hope you respond to this ad, so that I can go to your house, take away the groceries you bought, feed them to my pet alligator, and dare you to stick your hand in its mouth to get them back. Try eating the food NOW, tough guy!

Starbucks cafe, South Loop:
I was sitting by the window, writing in a notebook. You were sitting across the room, talking on your cell phone for half an hour at top volume, after yelling at the barista for getting your order wrong. And then you started laughing when the barista was driven to tears. Maybe you'll read this and we could meet in person, so that you can tell me all about the time you sold your soul for more cell phone minutes.

University library:
I was the graduate student doing research at a table stacked with books. You were at the table next to mine, listening to death metal music on your headphones, also at top volume (perhaps you're related to the cell phone guy, who may also be related to Satan?). I wondered how you were able to concentrate on your work with that music pounding in your ears, because I definitely couldn't concentrate on mine. I tried moving to another table across the room, but I could still hear your music. I hope to see you one day, and I hope to see that your ears have fallen off.

Downtown restaurant:
You were a cute guy in your early thirties sitting at a table not far from mine, reading a book by one of my favorite authors as you ate your lunch. You caught my eye and smiled. I got flustered that you were looking at me and I promptly spit out Coke through my nose, started choking on my French fries, and knocked over the contents of my purse onto the floor, which subsequently made the waiter trip and spill the food he was carrying onto a family of four who was at the next table. Sorry about that. If there ever is a next time, I'll say hi.


  1. I only checked craigslist's missed connections once- and that was after I met this super charming dude. :P

    But wow... the metal music and the headphones really is the worst. And they're completely oblivious!

  2. Hi MissEmy,
    I think it would be interesting to find out if someone created a missed connections ad about me on Craigslist, but I've never heard of it happening to anyone. Might make a good story though. :)

  3. Hi there!

    I followed you here to your blog (is that the equivalent of cyberstalking? ) from Tawna Fenske's excellent blog.

    First, I agree that the missed connections section runs the gamut from a hoot to eerie and creepy. I especially like to read the ones in the Chicago Reader.

    Next, my primary purpose in stalking you was to impart some info in the spirit of sharing. There are a few writing conferences that take place in or around Chicagoland. My local chapter of Romance Writers of America hosts a bi-ennial conference (Spring Fling) and we just wrapped up 2010 in April. The Association of Writing and Writing Programs (AWP) had their last conference downtown at the Palmer House hotel in 2009 and I think are scheduled to return in 2012. There's also the Society of Midland Authors, and I think you might need to be published to be a member, but they're also Chicago-based.

    All that to say that there are usually a whole host of events catering to the writing community here in the Windy City. If you google "writing conferences in Chicago" some are sure to pop up.

    Anyway, good luck with your writing.

  4. I didn't know about Craig's List Misconnections. I like your ads way better.

    I'm so glad you have a platform to get this stuff out. What would happen if you let it fester? I don't know which one I like best. The last one might be my favorite, but it would be like saying you have a favorite child.

    This whole post reminds me of "Desperately Seeking Susan" only better.

  5. Hi Pamala,
    Thanks so much for the information about the conferences! I can't really go to any conferences during the school year, since I'm working two jobs in addition to writing my dissertation. But I'm going to look for ones that might happen this summer, so thanks again for the info!

    Hi Theresa,
    Thanks! I'm glad I have this blog too. It really helps to be able to write about it. I think if I did let it fester I probably would be introducing a lot of people to my pet alligator.

  6. I really enjoyed your missed connections. I feel like I would have one to write every day..

  7. Hi Lizz,
    Thanks! I thought about posting these ads on Craigslist, just to see what kind of responses I'd get.

  8. These are so clever! Especially the university library & Starbucks ads. Post 'em for real & make people laugh! Maybe add your blog address so you'll get more fans!

  9. Hi notesfromnadir,
    That's a good idea! Maybe I will, but then I think that a lot of people might think I'm posting about them.