An Open Letter to My Craigslist Admirer

To say that June 13, 2012 has been a banner day for weirdness is an understatement. I woke up before 9am on a day I didn’t have to go to work, actually ate breakfast, was given a coupon for nail polish remover by a complete stranger (and extreme couponer) at the check-out at Target, only to be painting my nails in the middle of my floor when a friend of mine sent me this, with the comment: “I’m ashamed to say I look at these, but when I saw this one I was like OH MY GOSH I KNOW HER!!!”



In case you can’t read it, it’s a Craigslist Missed Connection. It reads: Hi, my name is Tommy. I was wearing a Hunger Games shirt, and you loved that I was wearing it. You said you had seen it 3 times and I said that I had seen it 5 times. I’d love to talk to you!

I was speechless for 20 seconds, horrified for the next 20, and then I couldn’t stop laughing. I didn’t even know what to do. My life is such a punch line right now, and I don’t even know the joke. I want to have the last word on this (an annoying personality quirk), but I’ll be darned if I’m replying to Craigslist. I’ve seen that Lifetime movie. So, I guess my best way to respond would be in the manner of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.  Here goes.

Dear Tommy:

Umm, hi. It’s Hannah. The chick from the museum that shall remain nameless. I remember you too. You were wearing a Hunger Games shirt, you were in from Indiana (maybe? Or was it Pennsylvania?), your sister was engaged but looked to be about 19 (which made me feel SWELL about my own single status) and your parents and soon to be brother-in-law were all there too. (I always enjoy meeting the folks right from the beginning.)

I don’t want to burst your bubble, but I remember you not because I felt a connection that you think we missed, but because I have a freakish memory. I remember the shoes that one of my best friends was wearing the first time we met. I remember where I ate lunch on June 4, 2011. I’m not one of those people with an encyclopedic memory of their entire lives, I just remember weird things and later they usually become important. I remember you not because of you, but because your sister was holding a red heart in her hand because she and her fiancé had been taking pictures for their Save the Date cards outside.

Okay, Tommy from Indiana or Ohio or wherever you’re from (see? I don’t remember THAT), what did you think was going to happen here? Frankly, I’m a little flattered, considering that when you met me, I was wearing my work uniform of an ill-fitting polo and a baseball cap. But really. Do I look like I spend a lot of time on Craigslist? Because before today, I’d never visited the site. Sure, because of my job, I’ve been mentioned on Trip Advisor a couple times, but this is something entirely new. As my friend who sent me the link put it: “I never expect these to be…real.” This sort of stuff doesn’t happen to me—it happens to other people and I read about it on their blogs or hear them tell the story at a bar. But now I’m that person, and I don’t know how I feel about it.

Here’s what I do know: Later on the same day of your visit, a girl around 12 wearing a Hunger Games shirt came into the museum and she and I had a conversation very similar to yours and mine. I talk to everyone who comes into this museum. I work at the front desk. I ask where they’re from, give them a wristband, compliment their shirt, tell them their baby is cute, wish them a great day and direct them to the nearest restroom. It’s my job. Sometimes I have funny conversations about boy bands with old ladies from Tulsa. Sometimes a gentleman asks me if I think I’m going to Heaven and hands me a booklet of bible tracts. I’ll yell “Go Sox!” if someone is wearing a Red Sox jersey, and “Geaux Saints!” for visitors from Louisiana. Sure, I’m a little more energetic with my greetings than some of my co-workers, but then, I was voted Most Outgoing in my high school class. I like to make people feel welcome. My friends always told me my ways could sometimes be construed as less friendly and more flirty in nature to some, and I guess now I’ve proven them right.

Anyway, I’m not the kind of girl who responds to a posting on Craigslist from a stranger. Even if I was interested in dating you, you automatically lose points for not being more creative. I don’t want to scold you, but come on. Give me some credit. And give yourself some credit too. You’re better than this. But now, in my personal history, you’re relegated to another of my “you’ll never guess but this actually happened to me” stories. Like the time I broke up with someone in a graveyard. Or went on a first date in a graveyard. Or the fact that I spent one summer living behind the fake Thomas Jefferson. (Huh. This may be one of my few stories that doesn’t involve a graveyard.) Now, I have this one to add to the list. You and your missed connection are a first-date kind of joke. After hearing this story, my date and I might develop an awkward silence that will push me to use my ultimate ice breaker: “So, who’s your favorite Muppet?” And then my eccentricities will be revealed to all.

So, in conclusion, Tommy from Kansas or Michigan, I think this should be the last time we talk. It’s just not meant to be. Have fun at your sister’s wedding—I’m sure there’ll be some girl who likes the Hunger Games there too. And don’t worry about me—I speak fluent Swedish Chef and can talk for hours about the proper way to protect a museum’s collections from water damage. I’ll find someone too. You go your way and I’ll go mine. We’ll always have the museum lobby.





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