Lowering A Box To The Ground
We met on the northbound side of the Hewes Street subway stop, where we’d both just gotten off the J train. Actually, we met on the stairs down to Broadway from the platform, and I don’t know if we’d both just gotten off of the same train. Maybe you were on a Queens-bound M train. Maybe you weren’t on a train at all, and you just enjoy the brisk exercise of carrying large Amazon boxes up and down the stairs to elevated trains. It could be that whatever was in that box has to be activated by altitude, and UPS refused to run it up a mountain en route to you.
I only caught a quick look at your face as you hooked a U-turn onto the sidewalk below. Maybe it was just the last stroke of heat burning off in the autumn air, maybe it was pushing through that floor-to-ceiling turnstile, but you were breathtaking, the first cigarette on a winter morning when you’ve got a summer cold. You were in office clothes, and that Amazon box was broader than your lightly padded shoulders. That’s who you were. Not a bad who to be!
Me, I was getting off at Hewes to walk up Hooper and Union to one of two Starbucks locations that Williamsburg inexplicably hasn’t burned to the ground yet. I was looking at Google Maps and wondering if it was worth buying the building at 492 Grand Street—one of three buildings between Hooper and Union—just to be able to open a bar called Hooper Union.
I would’ve turned off at South 5th Street any other time, but I had an hour to kill before my Dungeons & Dragons quest began again in earnest. That’s why I didn’t ask you, in my bed Brad Pitt voice, what was in the box. That’s not true—I would never do lines from Seven to a stranger on the street, but I didn’t want to say anything that might make me have to explain that I was on my way to play Dungeons & Dragons or, worse, that it’s not Dungeons & Dragons but an atomic-level fanboy rewrite of the (trademark) roleplaying brand called Hackmaster. If you don’t start digging, you’ll never unexpectedly find yourself in a grave of your own making.
You turned off at South 4th Street, which I know because that’s the direction you turned and not because I managed to get a look at the label on your package. Come to think of it, that would’ve been fruitless, since if it had been addressed to the place you were going, you wouldn’t be carrying it there. I’d thought it was a moral victory for the ongoing improvement of the male species, but maybe I sensed the skeleton disappointment without having to exhume the bones myself, like when you’re careening down the steps from the J train and have to pull up short because the girl near the bottom of the stairs is understandably taking it easy because she’s carry a box larger than her torso, and the girl turns out to be so irreconcilably beautiful that the fact is communicating by a split-second flash of her face, and you don’t say anything witty about the comically large box she’s carrying or the whiz-bang nerd party you’re heading to in an hour.
I have an archaeologist friend who once told me, “If you get it into your head that there are bones down there somewhere, and you keep digging and digging and don’t know when to give up, eventually you’ll be right.” That’s pretty grim, I told him. I’m trying to keep this Missed Connection light. “All I’m saying is never go digging, and never trust a man with a shovel.” And then he exploded into a shower of Dave & Buster’s coins.
Anyway. All that to say: I dug you, but I did not dig any further.