Mind the Gap: Love at First Sight On the 1 Train

Waiting on the platform = Waiting for Love?

A future President is about to be sworn in, his parents smile proudly from the audience, and we’re quickly sent on a journey back through the years to the beginning. A man stands on a platform in a train station. In an instant, he locks eyes with the woman surely destined to be the love of his life. The one problem? She’s on another train and it’s about to leave the station. He changes his ticket on his nifty smart phone and before the 30 second clip is over, he’s seated next to her on the train. Life happens.

So goes the  AT&T commercial that inevitably produces a sigh whenever I see it.

In the neat fantasy world of 30-second advertisements, instant connections made in Penn Station or the JFK terminal are never missed. In 30 seconds or less, everyone lives happily ever after.

In the real world, we need Craigslist. If our smart phone fails us on the platform, Craigslist offers us a second chance. Of course, the catch is that our missed connection has to log on and tune in to our broadcast. Isn’t there always a catch in the game of love?

About a year ago, I started reading “Missed Connections” every night before bed. There’s no secret hope that Mr. Right had spied me on the 1 train and tried to reach out through the interweb to find me. Rather, the habit stems from the same inner romantic who religiously peruses the Sunday NYTimes Wedding Announcements. I bask in the possibility that two people can find each other in unexpected places and at unexpected times. Stars collide. Life happens. The cynic in me loves the good giggle some posts inevitably inspire.

An MC post can take one of many guises. Sometimes it’s a digital catcall — a wooowooo directed at a leggy, busty blond walking past a guy on a street corner. Sometimes, it’s a desperate, if not beautiful, attempt at capturing a fleeting electric connection with another human being.

If I were to sit and do a survey, I’d say the number 1 location for a missed connection is the subway. The A train. The 1 line. The B, C, and F. Sometimes the 2/3. Perhaps, in a city like New York, that’s not a surprise. We New Yorkers spend as much time on the move as we do in our offices or out on the town — why shouldn’t we run into the loves of our lives on our morning commute? My parents met one morning in an elevator en route to their respective laboratories at University of Toronto. Perhaps my child’s parents will have met on the 6-train.

Connections are made. Connections are missed. Someone posts an add on Craigslist.

Life happens… in 30 seconds or less.

People passing in by in NYC's Grand Central Station. A missed connection every second