Playing Possum: Meeting My Missed Connection

[continued from The Case of the Wild Goose at Strawberry Fields]

When confronted with an uncomfortable situation involving a romantic prospect, I am not myself. I’m not even human. My confidence and pride threatened, my first instinct is to freeze, essentially play dead. I’m an opossum, falling over in the path of an attractive male. If I don’t exist…he can’t see me. Not many animals are less attractive than opossums.

Which is uglier? The possum, or my crude photo editing?

This affliction dates back to pubescence; I spent most of high school pretending my romantic interests didn’t exist. This is a tactic commonly used by teenaged girls. The thing is, usually they’re terrible at masking their feelings;  giggles, knowing glances, and twirling hair swiftly betray the true emotion. But little ol’ me with a natural proclivity for acting? I was so brilliant at acting like I never gave boys a second thought that they never gave me a second thought. Looking back, it’s no surprise I didn’t have a date for prom.

For the most part, I’ve grown out of this. But catch me off guard, give me no time to think, and I revert back to my primordial ooze teenaged self. Charm, wisdom, and grace replaced with a ratty-looking worm-tail as I lie in the road, frozen. This is exactly what happened when I went on a wild goose chase, searching New York for a man I had had a brief connection with. Not expecting to actually find him, I was agog when there he was in Strawberry Fields, the one and only place I had thought to look. A possum comes face to face with a wild goose? Of course she’s going to play dead, those birds are scary.

The minute I saw him, my heart stopped. So I immediately pretended he was the farthest thing from my mind. I scurried around Strawberry Fields, the feeling of an unsightly worm-tail dragging behind me. I tried to regain some of my wit, composure, human-sized brain- any antidote to my opossum affliction. I snapped some pictures with my camera, taking them for no other reason than to have something to do. After a handful of truly pitiful photos, I had a revelation. I did have something to do: I would blog about this. Oh yeah, I’m a blogger, not a marsupial! I’m creative, witty, and brave- not a passive opossum! My pictures improved and I started to feel more like myself, my phantom tail shrinking from behind me.

The scene at Strawberry Fields. The object of my attention is somewhere in this photo. If you can figure out which he is, I may declare you an even better detective than myself.

I stopped worrying about how to approach my wild goose and just started enjoying the moment. I’ve walked through Strawberry Fields countless time, never really thinking the man it honors.  How every day, thousands of people come together to lay flowers and think of his spirit captured in a single word. How every second, thousands are connected through his music. I decided to take in the scene and “imagine all the people living life in peace”. I sat down on a bench.

The “Imagine” memorial to John Lennon is covered daily in flowers, “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

 “Hey!” the guy seated next to me exclaimed. I turned my head. “Oh! Hi!” I said, taking a moment to place him. “It’s you from…back with the listener guy.” “Yep.” He said, and smiled. Ok, so I didn’t need the moment to place him, he was my wild goose! I had purposefully sat down next to him, pretending not to notice him, figuring I’d eventually break the ice. But he beat me to it!

“You’re following us, aren’t you.” he said, clearly joking. I smiled, taking the question far more seriously than he meant me too, “Yeah, I guess I am.” I said thoughtfully. “I’m kidding.” He said quickly, “It’s just funny how you’ll run into the same people in this city.” “Yes, yes it is.” I replied. If he only knew…

The possum and the wild goose finally face to face. We sat on the park bench, getting to know each other a bit. Right off we had a lot in common. Our past- growing up in California as only children- and present- both artists, he is a painter in Brooklyn. Recently moved to New York, college educated, the ever-present good vibes, and calm, comforting presence. His mother sat on the other side of him for a few moments and I could tell she liked me. And was just tickled her son was potentially picking me up. When he pulled out his phone to take my number and it was a sad-looking flip phone. Much like my own. I’ve long said I am searching for a man who doesn’t consider his iPhone second only to his penis…

And yet, he’s not the guy for me. Why? Because he never used the number I myself plugged into his phone. He never called me. As simple as that. Wild geese fly away and you never see them again. Possums stop playing dead and carry on with living.

It’s a great story and nice to leave it at that. I think in the past, I’ve been to drawn to the romance of meeting someone, of having that great “how we met” story. I have a dozen entries to prove it. Now I want to try to meet someone in a purely pedestrian way- through friends. I’ve never done that before. So, who wants to set me up?

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

9 thoughts on “Playing Possum: Meeting My Missed Connection

  1. I remember many times really liking someone and then never hearing from them again, that’s the worst! I love your blog, your writing makes me feel as if I’m right in NY with you seeing everything 🙂

    1. It’s not quite the worst! The worst is chickening out and never even trying with a guy you might like! This is my attitude now 🙂
      Thanks the blog love & I love it when people live vicariously through me!

  2. That story really needed on of those happy endings. I’m sorry it didn’t, but onto bigger and better things, right? It’s funny, because I figured out who you were talking about straight away in the first photo, my instinct just zoned in on him.

    I guess sometimes our stories and connections with certain people are suppose to be short. We enjoy their company for a few fleeting moments and then we continue on our separate journeys in life. We wonder why our time with them couldn’t have been longer, we wonder why they never called us, or we wonder why they broke our hearts – but it’s not always about how the story ends, it’s more about those few happy moments we share with them, they enrich our lives in some way and then we move on.

    1. How do you know which one he is?? He’s not sitting down yet in the picture…which do you think he is?
      And yeah…a happy ending is always nice- but we didn’t super hit-it-off- or anything after actually talking. I was only ever mildly disappointed.

      1. Haha…Err…isn’t it the guy in the hoodie? He’s kind of crouched down in the last photo? Garbage, now I’m second guessing my “instinct”…if it’s not him, then I’m embarrassed.

  3. I’m sorry he didn’t call you; that sucks! At least you had the courage to talk to him, though, because I am also very shy around guys that I’m attracted to. I’ve never been good at flirting, and it takes me a while to figure out if the guy is flirting with me.
    I love your pictures of New York. Every time I see them I feel envious because I’ve never even been there. I’d include pictures of Chicago on my blog, if it wasn’t for the fact that my thumb is in most of my pictures.

    1. Yeah, it was too bad, but I wasn’t too disappointed. No regrets! Plus it’s a great story anyway. I’d love to see pictures of Chicago! You can always edit out your thumb….my camera actually has a spot on the lens- it’s not too hard to retouch them so you can’t tell!

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