If you share a city with millions of other people, I imagine it'd be easy to live a life unnoticed. It might be frustrating to feel so small, so insignificant, so one-of-many. I got a small bite of the anonymity of big city obscurity this past go-round in New York. Passing someone on the street or making prolonged eye contact on the subway can mean very little when you do it all day, every day, in silence. Faces buzz past. Coats brush each other. Feet tread the same paths, possibly never to cross again. In a sea of people, sometimes meaningfully interacting isn't easy at all.
So, that's why these Craiglist listings "New York City Missed Connections" are so intriguing. They are all about people grasping for straws to kindle something more from their daily sparks with strangers. Like this one, posted today just before lunchtime:
Busy busy busy red head on L train last night - m4w (Chelsea)
It looked like you might be experiencing your vin-dit. You had beautiful hair, dress and shoes. Me in the purple shoes and yellow socks. Do you like to dance?
or this one, from yesterday:
We passed each other. Briefly. - m4w - 26 (Upper West Side)
So it was transient. But I felt as if you were carrying the world's troubles on your shoulders and wanted to just speak with someone about it. Don't know why, but when we locked eyes, we both realized (?) how empty our lives were. You were beautiful beyond description. Me, probably looked like an ape staring at you with wonder. I think you were wearing something green. Went really well with the color of your iris.
I could get lost clicking around through these moments of captured mystery. I'm not alone. Sophie Blackall, a New York based illustrator and hopeful romantic, has turned the Craigslist entries into lovely pictures, bound up in a beautiful book, due out next month. Missed Connections, Lost, Love, Lost & Found is a pictorial depiction of those fleeting instants. She says, "for all the hopelessness in writing and posting a Missed Connection, for all the 'you probably won't read this,' and the 'this is a shot in the dark,' there's a 15-watt bulb of hope dimly glowing in each message."
I, too, feel what she does when she says that "the enormous amount of tenderness in these messages makes me feel all swoony about my fellow human beings."
Take a look at the listings, her site, and the book. I think you just may feel something, too.