The story I'm about to tell happened two months ago. I had meant to write about it at the time but never got around to it. On Friday an infinitely more amusing story involving craigslist happened that I want to tell, and so I had to write this one first because all other stories will pale in comparison to the recent one. So I hope that you will read this, be moderately amused and then read the next story.
Craigslist has been a continual source of amusement on the slow days at work. It started within my first month when my friend Britney (all names have been changed to protect the innocent) began reading the missed connections aloud. If you haven't read them before you should really take a few minutes and browse through them. It was probably just the suggestive and slightly creepy voice that Britney used to read these that made it so amusing, but it was a weekly tradition on Fridays to go through them and laugh at the people who anonymously tried to connect with someone they had only briefly met or made eyes at. After Britney and another coworker expressed a desire to have a missed connection written about them I hatched a plan to write one for her.
I waited a few weeks before acting and I debated the efficacy of such a prank with several people. All of them said it would be awesome and encouraged me to go for it. "That's not crossing a line?" I asked. "What if she gets pissed?" No, everyone said, it would be brilliant. Then I had to wait for an opportune moment. For this to work I had to know a specific place where Britney had been on a given day. Our office or the work shuttle would be too obvious and simply stating the location as "the MBTA red line" would be too vague. So I waited until Britney went to a show at the House of Blues, knowing it would be the perfect locale for a missed connection. The next day I posted my "missed connection," describing how she had been waiting in line with two friends and our eyes had locked on several occasions. I included a rather vague physical description of her and submitted it. And then I waited.
Of course right afterwards we both got busy with things at work and the week passed without any readings from craigslist. On Friday I decided to take things into my own hands. After lunch I asked her to read some missed connections. "Not now, I have a lot left to do today," she replied. Fuck. The post had been up all week at this point and I didn't want it to disappear into the hundreds of pages of desperation that exist on craigslist. I brought it up again an hour later. "Just take a break for a little while and read some of them," I prodded. Britney consented and read through a few pages worth but somehow skipped over mine before saying, "ok, back to work."
"Come on, read a few more," I begged. "No, I'm done. Read them yourself if you want," Britney replied. If I read the one I had written to her it would be way too obvious. She would definitely catch on, but fuck it, there was no other apparent way to get her to see it. I read out a few random ones to not be exceedingly obvious before getting to mine. "Hey, this one is from the show you were at the other night," I told her. "Really?? Read it!" she commanded.
I began reading it but keeping a straight face during this was one of the hardest things I had done. After only three weeks of working here, Britney had told me that she had already identified my "lying face," and she had been extremely accurate at identifying my lies since then. Let's just say I wouldn't make a good poker player. I knew that to pull this off my face would have to be a fucking stone. I had only read two sentences when she shrieked, "ohmygod! send it to me!" I sent her the link and her excitement about potentially having a missed connection took over. I watched her face closely as she read the rest of the ad, as it went from an expression of hope and eagerness to pure joy. "This is me!" Britney yelled while pumping her arms in the air. "I have a missed connection!"
Her shouts attracted the attention of several coworkers who were then told the story at about 15 words per second. Somehow they managed to understand what Britney was saying. I sat there continuing to do a great fucking job of not cracking up. Britney emailed her roommates to tell them her accomplishment of having garnered a missed connection. They urged her to reply to it, saying that it could be fate and other such nonsense. While she debated whether or not to respond, I was trying to figure out at what point I should tell her that I wrote it.
Our friend Scott walked up to hear the story and as Britney told it again it became clear she was going to respond to it. I couldn't let it go that far. I was already worried I had potentially crossed the line between prank and destroying someone's dream, and letting her send out a heartfelt email to her mystery soulmate would just be weird.
"Are you going to write to him?" Scott asked.
"Yes, I HAVE to! This could be destiny!" Britney said.
Fuck. Yep, have to end this now, I thought.
"Don't reply. He could be some freak. Writing an anonymous post on the internet to someone is weird," Scott said.
"Oh come on, as if you've never written some anonymous message to a girl online before," Britney retorted.
"No, I haven't. That's messed up," Scott said.
"Yeah, I haven't done that either," I chimed in. "Except that I did. Just now."
There was an awkward pause. Britney looked at me curiously and it took several seconds before the meaning of what I had just said dawned on her. Scott burst out laughing and I was laughing too, although still worried about Britney's reaction. It was as if she didn't actually believe I had written it. "Did you really write it?" she asked and as I told her that I had, I prepared to duck behind my desk in case a stapler or other metal objects came hurtling in my direction. Fortunately Britney has a sense of humor and she laughed about the whole thing. After work I told the friends who had advised me to go through with it the whole story. Their responses were all the same: "I can't believe you actually did it! That could have backfired horrendously!" Thanks a lot, assholes.