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Merry Christmas. This is the day that Santa has made! Do me a favor. Go hug the person you love, go tell your family that each is beautiful, go smile at a stranger and look into a mirror and see the lines on your face as marks of beauty, the grey in your beard as indications of wisdom, the skin and eyes and nose and mouth of you as nothing but beauty. Merry Christmas, kids. You are beautiful.
We’re going to have a Christmas story time today. Why? Because I think it would be inappropriate of me to write some hate filled donut on the week of Christmas. Hate filled and delicious. Hate filled. Yum. Maybe not hate filled, but with some anger sprinkles. Or jimmies, as they are also called. So here’s some fluff for this week. Don’t worry; the hate will return more powerful than it left. Alright, let’s get to the story.
I have a friend who works here at the bookstore. Her name is Alana and she is a wonderful and beautiful person despite the fact that she’s a damned dirty hippie. And man, I hate hippies. Aside from her hippiness, she’s a friend. She also has an addiction. A bad one. A nasty, bad, filthy addiction. She is addicted to Craig’s List Missed Connections. It’s sad, I know. For those who don’t know, this is a section of Craig’s List where people will post some bullshit about some stranger they saw at a place. Knowing very little about the other person, the poster will describe the stranger in hopes that the stranger will reply. The future of romance, still as nauseating as traditional romance. So Alana found one which she brought to my attention.
Alana texted me the link and I never looked at it. Mostly because I assumed that whatever the link lead to was something stupid or uninteresting to me. I saw Alana in the bookstore, and she asked me if I looked at the link. I said no. She instructed me to look at it with her standing an uncomfortable, pachouli stink filled distance from me. Under the listings of South Jersey, and with a subject line of “Barnes & Nobel Deptford,” this is what I read.
“I was the short-haired girl standing waiting for my coffee. You were the bearded, nose-ringed young man typing on his laptop nearby. We made eye contact a few times and you smiled at me. I wanted to talk to you, but you had earphones in and I didn't want to disturb you. If you see this, perhaps we can get coffee together sometime?”
I futilely attempted to suggest to my friend that the person who posted this listing was not actually looking for me. That argument didn’t last terribly long, obviously. Clearly this posting was about me, but in my typical way of not anticipating anything but misery being manifested from the interaction with others, I tried to convince myself that this person was looking for someone else. Alana wasn’t buying it, so after some discussion (which included my saying this awesome line: “Kiddo, I’ve seen this movie. It has Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in it and it sucks.”), I relinquished to the request and sent the strange girl a message.
I don’t know if you kids know this or not, but I actually write quite a bit of fiction in addition to this weekly blog madness. I have a book of short stories called “people i know” that you ought to buy and read if you want a greater sense of how I write. (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1332153) In most of my fiction, I write about relationships, I write about romance and love, I write about people who find one another in some way and establish whatever it is that the people around me claim is to be in love with someone. If I wrote about a someone who looks for and finds another person on Craig’s List Missed Connections, I’d have deleted it as one of the worst through lines I’ve ever conceived. How ridiculously implausible is it that two people who brushed their realities against one another in the same place at the same time would reconnect over a fortunate or serendipitous meeting in the black and white print of fucking Craig’s List? That is the dumbest story I’ve ever heard, and if someone told me that story, I’d stop listening and start whistling “Caribbean Queen.”
Back to the story. As a sub plot, I mistakenly told my friend and singer Dan about this little situation, and immediately the jokes and presumptions came spewing through the microphone at gigs. Everything from the stupidly childish taunting of “Ew, you’re in love!” to the jokes that this was just a set up for some CNN creepshow sting operation. A couple days go by, and after a couple of emails with this girl, I gain a vital piece of information that would dictate the eventual resolution of this story.
I saw “Tron: Legacy” the other day in 3D. First 3D movie I had ever seen, aside from when I was a little kid and the only movies in 3D were bad horror movies and the industry mocked the genre for using parlor tricks to get people to the theatre rather than deep and interesting stories. Ah, delicious hypocrisy. It was good. “Tron” was, I mean. I was hoping that it would be stranger than it was, and the kid is kind of annoying. But the broad was hot and the score was written by Daft Punk. That’s kind of cool. Oh wait; I was telling a story, wasn’t I? Let’s get back to that.
Over the next couple of days, I allowed my mind to wander into the worlds aligning happenstance that was this odd situation of a girl finding me on Craig’s List. How was it that someone who lives or exists near me has found a way to contact me without knowing my name. How was it that I happen to have a friend, whom I see frequently, who obsessively looks at the exact section that this mystery girl posted to. How is it that I was privy to all of this? Seems a little too convenient. So either it’s a set up and this cleverly played prank was to spring in a humiliatingly amusing way, or I was going to meet this girl. All this was running through my head for these couple of days. And to be fair, when you’re on stage playing Lady Gaga songs for drunk people at a casino in the middle of Pennsylvania, you tend to let your mind wander.
I mentioned the vial piece of information earlier. This is where I reveal it. Ready? The girl, excited that she had found me, sent me an email that contained a ‘hi, pleased to meet you’ kind of folksy kind of tone, and in it, she included this fantastic sentence.
“I'm an 18-year-old freshman at Rowan…”
Luck is something I don’t believe in, but if I did, it would be a festering sore, or worse, it would be akin to being forced to watch “Sixteen And Pregnant” on loop for twenty hours a day. The point is, luck sucks, and worse is serendipity. The bomb that was dropped may not translate to some of you kids as being a huge deal, but I’m thirty and would prefer a relationship rather than some boom boom college party nonsense. I told the girl that it wasn’t going to happen, and disappointedly shared my story the next day with Alana.
Ah serendipity. A couple of things struck me in this little adventure. One was, how the fuck do I not look thirty? Shit, man. I don’t sleep, I don’t eat, I smoke like nine packs a day. I have to look like I’m seventy by now. The other thing that struck me was this. Despite the shitty outcome, it is a fun affirmation of life to be a character in a story like this. Sure, I’d have preferred that the girl looking for me was twenty-six, attractive, and intelligent; but there was an affirmation of life in the days leading to the unfortunate information at the end. Affirmation of life is important, kids. As this year ends, think about the affirmations of this week, this month, this year. Think about moments you’ve felt alive, regardless of the outcome. Think about what reminds you that you exist, you are beautiful, you are wanted, you are valued, you are welcomed. Think about these things, and share them. Maybe the outcome isn’t what I (or you) want, but getting there and the sensations that accompany getting there can be beautiful too. I hope you liked my little story. It reminds me that I (and you) have an impact on every living, moving thing in your reality whether you realize it or not. You’re more than just a set piece in someone else’s play; you are beautiful. Have a blessed Christmas.
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