December 21, 2009

Maybe It's Me: The Last Ad, or, This is the Problem.

For a spell I was so thirsty to find something extraordinary in another person - something I could understand, someone I could connect to; I was so desperate to find the answer to a question I wasn't entirely sure I even understood. But having lost my faith in the originality and kindness of people I began searching every avenue I could to find some redeeming quality in mankind - something for me to fall in love with.

Hope is an awful thing to lose.

I started posting in Craigslist, and I was continually underwhelmed and unimpressed with the caliber and quality of person I found on there. I don't know what I was expecting, but I thought that there must be other people like me searching for something exceptional in an otherwise unconventional arena because the tangible world had continued to disappoint them.

My very last post on Craigslist ended up changing my life.

As a result, I never posted on there again.

What would have been the point?

What I needed to find, I found.

And it wasn't at all what I was even looking for.

A couple months ago out of sheer curiosity and interest in posterity, I emailed some of the, in my opinion, what proved to be less worthy responses to that posting just to see if by any chance they actually had that original Personal I had written. If I couldn’t find it, I was going to attempt to rewrite it, though it wouldn’t have been the same (both in contest and in the emotional-motivation behind it. One should not attempt to recreate such genuine firey passion - matters of the heart are best in their original state, and not just some awful copy of it).

One of these former underqualified suitors did in fact have the original Personal and sent it back to me with a note that read something to the effect of, “Rereading this now all these months later makes me want to know you all the more. Best of luck with life, no doubt you’ll thrive at whatever you do . . .”

Here it is, one year later and as I reread it I find it absolutely remarkable. Instantly I’m taken back to the moment when I wrote it: from the comforts of my couch, bathed in the glow of my Christmas tree lights on an overcast Saturday afternoon, the skies gray with the threat of a snowstorm. I had no expectations when I penned it. Sometimes the healing comes from simply seeing your emotions, the song of your heart embodied in some discernable aspect.

I also can’t help but find it a touch bittersweet as well. How is one to know when the course of their life is about to be forever altered? I think perhaps we too frequently underestimate the power of a pebble and its ability to ripple changed through the biggest of oceans.

Or the power of an online personal ad when the right personal ad at the right moment reads it and responds to it.

It was the first and only ad I had written without the aid or inspiration from a stiff drink (every writer has a vice – nicotine, coffee, and hard liquor being the favorites –mine is a strong cup of tea; though once it was a strong shot of whiskey) written entirely on an emotional high and a questioning heart.

It was entitled “This is the Problem.”

“Title: This is the problem.
Reply to: pers-965268715@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-12-20, 3:47PM

Craigslist. This is the problem.

I’m not a sociopath.

I'm not unattractive.

I'm not a shut-in.

I'm actually pretty awesome.

And, yet, I'm the only single person I know.

I don't know why I think Craigslist is going to solve my problems.

Just because it gave me my incredible job, my amazing apartment, my pet, my laptop, and half my apartments super cool decorations, I shouldn't expect it to produce the boy, too. Right?

I should stop being so demanding. I mean, I thought for sure that if I was going to find someone who didn't snore, was attractive, liked cuddling, understood that a friendship was the first step, had a good job and was solid financially, didn't live at home, was taller than me, could laugh at themselves, liked to travel, appreciated my quirks, didn't send misleading photos, didn't try and rape me on the first date, wasn't grooming me for marriage after the second, was patient, was compassionate, and did I mention adorable and thoughtful?, it was going to be on Craigslist.

Apparently not?”

Perhaps I should feel embarrassed by this pathetic plea for affection or petition of reassurance in my own self-worth.

But, I’m not. As a matter of fact, I’m mostly still in love with it.

Maybe it’s me, but I find it to be absolutely important to catalog moments like this in our existence. They are nice reminders of where we were and where we’ve been. I’m not ashamed of my past and I’m terribly fond of every and all the photos I’ve been in (from the posed to the candid’s) and every and all the words that I’ve written (from a published book to a simple personal ad). Because, if nothing else, they are extensions of my life’s story in the physical form.

And for this specific moment, a reminder of a loss and the subsequent rediscovery of hope.