I Missed You in the Rain
October 3, 2015 8:09 AM   Subscribe

 
Lovely.
posted by zagyzebra at 8:17 AM on October 3, 2015


Oh my god.
posted by Windigo at 8:18 AM on October 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Whoa, so beautiful.

And, to Sully, you who saved me, dancing on that balcony in Tucson, to Goin' up Country, best to you down these years.
posted by Oyéah at 8:26 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wow.
posted by msbubbaclees at 8:43 AM on October 3, 2015


That is excellently written I loved it.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:51 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Chills. Fuck.
posted by item at 8:55 AM on October 3, 2015


Ha, I was preparing a FPP on this. Saw it yesterday here, where they do their "famous" detective work: Writer Raphael Bob-Waksberg might be implicated. Or not
posted by growabrain at 8:56 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't doubt that this meeting happened, but could you really have gone from flying B-52 bombing sorties over North Vietnam to being honorably discharged and alone in an apartment in Boston in the space of a week?
posted by Flashman at 8:58 AM on October 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


Wasn't wxpecting that. Wow.
posted by mosk at 8:59 AM on October 3, 2015


Was fine until the end, and then it clobbered me. Well done mystery writer, well done.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 9:06 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


There is some fascinating detection going on there, from 'was it raining that night' to 'how many bombs did a B-52 carry?'
posted by corb at 9:08 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't doubt that this meeting happened

Uh...
posted by thetortoise at 9:11 AM on October 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm sorry to say I'm skeptical that this is real. To me, the way it's written reads too much like a piece of fiction hoping to go viral, not an honest remembrance. Also I find it hard to believe that a woman, no matter how upset about her loveless engagement, would go out in the rain in Boston on December 31 uncovered in such a way that you could see that "a galaxy of freckles dusted [her] shoulders." Average temperature in Boston that day was 32 degrees, with a low of 24. Even the most manic of Manic Pixie Dream Girls would bring a jacket.
posted by ejs at 9:12 AM on October 3, 2015 [63 favorites]


Whatever the providence, it's a great piece of writing and it gave me the chills.
posted by mochapickle at 9:16 AM on October 3, 2015


Capes, ladies in gowns wear capes which cover, or reveal as much as they wish. Maybe she went out to smoke, not so romantic but plausible.
posted by Oyéah at 9:17 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm also pretty skeptical of this particular, specific story, but I know that the spirit of the story is true for quite a few people out there, and it's definitely beautifully written, and so I am choosing to appreciate it on that basis, at least.
posted by obfuscation at 9:18 AM on October 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh wow. This sounds to me entirely fictional, but even so, that makes it even more beautiful because it’s a great use of an entirely functional online platform like that for literary purposes. I actually like it better as fiction. Nice one, author, whoever you are!
posted by bitteschoen at 9:19 AM on October 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Well, I can attest to having been outside with nothing but a ball gown on in Copley Square on a cold night in the middle of December (work party at the Boston Public Library and we were having trouble finding the parking garage). It was not pleasant, but I could probably have stood it for a short while, if I needed to smoke.
posted by peacheater at 9:22 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can you smell smoke from a B52? Good read though.
posted by Rumple at 9:23 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


In 1972, you would have been able to smoke at the soiree. But whatever, I'm not actually trying to tear this piece down, because I agree it's beautifully written and a lovely sentiment. But I do think that it is taking advantage of people's credulous nature by presenting itself as real on Craigslist in order to stir interest. If this piece were published in Granta it wouldn't be speeding around the internet today. And that, to me, makes it like one of those non-satire fake news sites that publishes real-sounding fake stories to get outrage clicks on Facebook.
posted by ejs at 9:24 AM on October 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


[One comment deleted. We can have a discussion about whether the story is likely to be true or fiction without casting aspersions on each other.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:25 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, Annette, you know who you are.
posted by Rumple at 9:25 AM on October 3, 2015


It's interesting what people respond to. For me, it reads not just fictional (or perhaps fictionalized) but also overly dramatic in the least interesting way possible. Different folks, different strokes, etc. If it is real, I hope they connect, of course, and that at the very least the writer finds closure.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:36 AM on October 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well, I'll be the grumpypants in the room and say that if you're going to write a laconic aging Vietnam vet, you could at least get the diction right.

I hope they connect, of course, and that at the very least the writer finds closure.

Apparently he did, as he cast his virtual coin into the wishing well of the cosmos and realized their connection wasn't missed at all. Must be one of those processing exercises.
posted by thetortoise at 9:41 AM on October 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hmmmmm. A young woman who ran out in the cold because she didn't want anyone to see her cry sounds pretty dang plausible to me, to be honest.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:44 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's fiction and cringingly overwritten. Surprised it's gone viral.
posted by naju at 9:45 AM on October 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


It absolutely is overly dramatic, as I was reading I thought that was precisely the purpose - at least I do hope the intent is to have a bit of fun with the idea of an epically romantic missed connection spanning across 40 years, and "to take advantage of people’s credulous nature" or at least sit back and watch the reactions with amusement.

At least that’s my own projection - I think, if you were going to write a fictional piece for Missed Connection, you’d want to go overboard.

In the very unlikely even it is "real", on the other hand, good luck but really…
posted by bitteschoen at 9:51 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


It would be nice if it was real and it very well could be. In part.

Stories written long after the fact are most likely stories told over and over to the self, if to no others, and laden with false memories and overly dramatic details but there could be kernels of truth embedded within.

What I want to know is whether it gets a response.
posted by y2karl at 9:52 AM on October 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


For real.
posted by y2karl at 9:54 AM on October 3, 2015


Okay, the last time this happened, I was genuinely confused about whether the dress was blue or white. But I don't see why we're arguing here. The dress is blue. It says so right in the story.
• do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers
posted by oulipian at 9:56 AM on October 3, 2015 [34 favorites]


Debunked?
posted by progosk at 10:00 AM on October 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


The interesting thing to me is that, if this is a true story it is a poignant one, and beautifully written. If it is fiction, it is cloying, and poorly written.
posted by baseballpajamas at 10:01 AM on October 3, 2015 [60 favorites]


See also James Frey, JT Leroy, etc. Truth is stranger than fiction, and it also doesn't have to read well to be effective. I personally don't know whether this story is true, and - in the absence of any sinister motive on the part of the author - I don't really care. It's a nice story about living in hope instead of despair. Why is it something some people are so desperate to debunk, I wonder?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:07 AM on October 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I love how that debunkment just descends into a wild rant against the 'racist, ruthless' Vietnamese Communists.
posted by Flashman at 10:07 AM on October 3, 2015 [23 favorites]


A side note from Debunked? linked above:

There is no question that American involvement in Viet Nam saved millions of lives.

Caveat lector, perhaps ?
posted by y2karl at 10:09 AM on October 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Complete hogwash... Way too many problems with the story. Sorry--- Even if the writer wanted to just get it to go viral, he should have done a better job with research. Grade-: C-
posted by searust at 10:13 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


C'mon, searust, what are the problems? What are the flaws in the research? Make with the deets, otherwise you're withholding information the reader needs in order to create suspense, which is nearly as big a no-no as the purpleprose people are wailing about. Grade: C.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:18 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


If we could get Simon and Garfunkel back together, there's a song in this....
posted by HuronBob at 10:25 AM on October 3, 2015


I am really surprised that no one has yet pointed out the most glaring thing that seems to point to how this whole story is made up: "all I knew about you was your first name." And yet not once in the entire ad seeking a connection does the guy think to mention said name of the mystery woman who saved him from suicide and turned his life around.
posted by old_growler at 10:27 AM on October 3, 2015 [43 favorites]


I have no idea whether the story is real or not, but the writing is beautiful and it's certainly plausible to me as self-mythology. As your memories fade, even in middle age, you remember your own stories better than you remember your memories.
posted by immlass at 10:27 AM on October 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


I also wonder if he ever located that girl he met at Woodstock.
posted by HuronBob at 10:29 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


And yet not once in the entire ad seeking a connection does the guy think to mention said name of the mystery woman who saved him from suicide and turned his life around.

Her name's the first letter of every paragraph: IOAIAYWWFAOATYIS.

Pretty common. I think it's Welsh, maybe? There are a million hits on Google.
posted by mochapickle at 10:30 AM on October 3, 2015 [58 favorites]


All fondant, no cake.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:39 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


He probably didn't mention her name because it was something stupid like Veronifer
posted by aubilenon at 10:44 AM on October 3, 2015 [27 favorites]


Mulva.
posted by notyou at 10:50 AM on October 3, 2015 [29 favorites]


This is sweet. I don't believe it, but I don't congratulate myself on not believing it, and I wish I did. A single, simple encounter like this is certainly a plausible life hinge. I've just been burnt too many times.

Also, in my experience, guys in their late sixties showing their hearts on the internet frequently communicate in ALL CAPS and use ,,, for numerous ellipses.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:54 AM on October 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


The manic pixie dream girl thing seems to get a lot of hate around the internet for its presence as a trope or for its potential politics, but it's getting a lot of love here. More justifiably than the hate, in my opinion.
posted by weston at 10:57 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I met a boy in a park about 40 years ago. I remember he was beautiful and we talked for hours. I remember that his family were fishermen and they lived on a boat and he wanted me to meet them. I got a little nervous because it seemed too much, too soon, like there was an intensity about him and he admitted he was looking for a wife. I was only 17, not looking to become a wife.

I've often wondered what would have happened if I had gone with him. Would I have met his family? Would he have turned out to be a serial killer? Rather haunting, not knowing.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:02 AM on October 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


Yeah, I met a boy at a country fair once (Yes I did). We danced and talked and talked all night.
He didn't believe I was old enough to drive, but I was, and I took him back from the club to the tents we were all staying at in my gran's car.
A month later, I drove to his home town with some implausible excuse, and when I saw him with his mother through the window of a café, I fled. I was married, in doubt, afraid.
Will he remember me, when he is 60? No idea. I haven't forgotten him, though I have no idea who he is.
I doubt either of us will post anything on craigslist or facebook.
posted by mumimor at 11:12 AM on October 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Writer Raphael Bob-Waksberg

If so, I guess he's just Horsin' Around.
posted by gwint at 11:18 AM on October 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Racist rant aside, the debunking that seems most accurate is the B-52 bomb load debunk. However, something else is also possible.

This guy wasn't a pilot, or if he was, he didn't drop bombs. Maybe he was just a down on his luck Joe who met a beautiful fairy princess from another world and has embellished aspects of it. Or - he has told this story to his family so many times he was pushed into doing this - even though he knows it's a lie.
posted by corb at 11:25 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


According to Wikipedia, Vietnam-era B-52s could carry at least 24 bombs, if not more, at a time. 48 bombs over 4 runs is 12 bombs per run. 12 is less than 24, so this seems like a possibility?
posted by eviemath at 12:08 PM on October 3, 2015


It's fiction and cringingly overwritten. Surprised it's gone viral.

On a first pass, I'd agree that it's overwritten, but I actually think the register here is maybe the best touch it has. Think about a non-writer sitting down to write their memoirs, someone who has a decent enough facility with language to affect a high register, but who probably doesn't have the aesthetic grounding to be able to use it judiciously: I suspect the tone would be pretty similar.

I like this, especially in combination with the medium, because it points towards a strange contradiction in how we value "true" stories: we like the raw ones, the ones with unresolved strands, because that's more apparently realistic; but in presenting our own recollections, we embellish them in memory and in language to the point that they resemble fiction. The intuitive tendency is to process our true stories into kitsch, and it takes extra effort to present them in a style that actually has a patina of truth and not just a payload.
posted by invitapriore at 12:15 PM on October 3, 2015 [21 favorites]


Assume it's true for a second: details 40 years on will be misremembered, embellished, and romanticized. The specifics of what she was wearing, her shoulders, the diner, the weather, the date … much of this will have been reshaped by the remarkable, fallible, human mind.

I don't think the truth or untruth of the piece (did it happen? is the writer who he says he is?) can be found via this sort of detective work.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


The intuitive tendency is to process our true stories into kitsch, and it takes extra effort to present them in a style that actually has a patina of truth and not just a payload.

THIS. V. sharp.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:41 PM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


The author has provided a patina. It's of coagulated guilt around a heart! But noooOooo, that's not good enough for you people, you want a patina of truth on the story itself. Evaluate each separate patina on its own merits, that's what I always say.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:51 PM on October 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's fiction and cringingly overwritten.

it's a Craiglist post, not a submission to a literary journal. I'd argue that if it's fiction (and I'm amused by how many here are CERTAIN that it is not), it nails its tone very well. Or as invitapriore just put it,

someone who has a decent enough facility with language to affect a high register, but who probably doesn't have the aesthetic grounding to be able to use it judiciously: I suspect the tone would be pretty similar.

I certainly had chance encounters with strangers when I was younger that maybe didn't save my life, but they certainly redirected it in positive ways. One in particular came while I was wallowing in the fog of an acid trip that had gone horribly wrong. I really was about as messed up as I've ever been, not suicidal but desperate in other ways. I happened to run into this older sort of hippie guy at a bus stop and we got to talking, me more than him. At some point, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Relax, man. You're supposed to be confused when you're young. That's what the rest of your life's for. Working it out." (or words to that effect)
posted by philip-random at 1:17 PM on October 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't think it's factual. I don't think this thing literally happened. And yet, as illustrated above, humans do have fleeting moments of intense and meaningful connections that we sometimes carry around for the rest of our lives. I think that's why people are responding to this (and similar) postings on CL. Also, I think if the writer wanted it to go viral he didn't need to worry about anything else because, um, it went viral. I suspect the writer wasn't overly concerned with facts because they doesn't need people to believe it is literally true. If it were real, the woman's first name would be included. The writer doesn't want to find a lost connection. The writer wants an audience. And has one now.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:21 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think this is lovely. Who cares if it's real or not.
posted by kariebookish at 1:22 PM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


These fact or fiction debates reminds one of the Indian fable of the blind savants and the elephant. The truth is like a snake, a spear, a tree, a fan or a rope, depending on where they touch the elephant.
posted by y2karl at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


A young woman who ran out in the cold because she didn't want anyone to see her cry sounds pretty dang plausible...

And then went off for coffee with a random man who approached her?

Who cares if it's real or not?

Only people who care about the distinction between fiction and lies.
posted by Segundus at 1:39 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's a sort of Great Gatsby-esque quality, the beautiful manic pixie-ish society girl destined to marry someone from an Old Money family, the down on his luck military man who gets swept away at the first glance. Of course, in this version, Gatsby spends a year pining, and then goes on to marry someone else, have a son, and lead a normal life, occasionally thinking fondly of the one who got away.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:43 PM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Only people who care about the distinction between fiction and lies.

It's Craigslist. I assure you that very few people on Craigslist are telling the absolute truth.
posted by mochapickle at 1:47 PM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Women go off for coffee with random men who approach them all the time. People interact with each other. I promise you this does actually happen.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:57 PM on October 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


I should have specified that I meant in terms of a broad narrative arc, not that I was in any way drawing a parallel to Fitzgerald's writing and this piece.

But as far as the fact vs fiction thing, I've never been a fan of the double standard where someone can get a way with writing a memoir that would never pass as fiction because of their crappy prose.

However, in this case, I would be willing to cut someone who is 70 years old (roughly?) writing a genuine Craigslist missed connection article a lot more slack than someone who was pretending to do the same. Also, aside from the style, if this were real, then part of the draw would be that there is in fact someone out there who could see this and say, I was that woman, or I knew that woman. Sure, it probably wouldn't happen, but it could.

Incidentally, if this were real, it seems like it shouldn't be so impossible to figure out in this day and age of google and Facebook. It would help if he remembered the last name of the fiancé, because how hard could it be to google, "woman first name" and "old money last name." How many Boston banking nobility families are there, anyway? It takes two seconds to do a google search. Seems like a place to start.

Also, I don't know how far back marriage records go, but if you could find a list of marriages in 1973 1974, just search for her first name, and see what you find. Of course, that's assuming they both did actually get married, but since this ended with her ditching this guy after an hour and not with the two of them hooking up in a sleazy motel room, it seems like she probably did get married to the guy.

Oh, and newspaper records! If this is an old money family, there certainly would be a prominent marriage announcement, and probably even an engagement announcement, which would be printed whether or not they did get married.

And now I've probably put way more thought into this than whoever pounded out this story in probably all of 5 minutes before posting it to Craigslist to see if it could go viral.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:00 PM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't care whether it's real per se, I just care that a lot of smart people I know are taking an anonymous piece of writing on the internet at face value without a drop of skepticism. "Repost so we can help him find her" and the like.
posted by ejs at 2:06 PM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's Craigslist. I assure you that very few people on Craigslist are telling the absolute truth.

This discussion would be very different if there was a bowl of fruit on the story.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:10 PM on October 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


With or without fruit flies ?
posted by y2karl at 2:13 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


No fruit flies. This is a classy story.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:14 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


When the wonderful Ingrid Daubechies and her team started applying machine learning to detecting forged paintings, they discovered something really interesting (to me): not only could they detect forgeries of well-known paintings -- where one skilled painter is copying the work of another -- they could also distinguish two copies of the same painting by the same painter painted on the same day. There was a property they called the "hesitancy index," the subtle way a studied brushstroke that's trying to replicate a spontaneous brushstroke is just a little off, a little stiff.

This conversation (and the piece) are really fascinating to me because they play on exactly this. There's something in the quality of the prose that feels really winning, an intensity of honest emotion that's almost hard to take in that way that we build up transformative moments in our own life -- if it's real. The moment I assume that it's fake, every "spontaneous" gesture feels saturated with spurious Story Corps dramatic beats and calculated, super-fiction-y payoffs. And what's fascinating to me is that, as I read the piece -- after having read the comments here -- I can "pop" it in and out of each mode, like the faces-vase optical illusion. I'd love to learn more about what makes "authentic" writing feel authentic, and why those properties can tip so easily into feeling like faux-veneered kitsch -- about what distinguishes these kinds of prose, the way brushstrokes can reflect studied hesitation.
posted by Stevia Agave at 2:20 PM on October 3, 2015 [82 favorites]


A bowl of fruit, incongruous, there beside her oblivious highclassdanceslippered foot. A bowl of fruit glazed with fruitflyspeck, there beside the angelfoot, there beneath the awning, the awning so far far far far overhead but yet as if ordained shielding them from the rain, the fruit, the girl, the patina, all intact despite the rain he supposes now he thought--or rather hoped--might wash it away... The bowl of fruit glimpsed briefly, fleetingly, halflit as it was in the gloaming by the flash of his Zippo, the one he carried on the bomber, the one from his older brother Jim, unmentioned so far but haunting the story with a ghostly patinaglowfiregleam of fraternal misery and guiltgrime, Jim... Jim,,, Jim, who gave the Zippo to him the black night he returned from Korea full of stories he never told at least until he got that job writing for M*A*S*H, man, Jim always did get there first and do it better.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:07 PM on October 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


Having skimmed it the first time, a second reading has made a firm disbeliever of me. Even if only to himself, how could a person tell such story of such length ever so inelegantly for so long ? How could he live so long and not learn anything about turning a phrase ? Oh, the infelicity!
posted by y2karl at 3:08 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Extremely formulaic. If it's true, it shouldn't be.
posted by crazylegs at 3:37 PM on October 3, 2015


If it's fiction, there's no reason to believe the author is old enough to have served in Vietnam.
posted by crush-onastick at 3:38 PM on October 3, 2015


The most believable bit to me is the part where she legs it as soon as he goes to the toilet.

There might have been some sort of meeting, but I bet her version bears no resemblance to this.
posted by tinkletown at 3:46 PM on October 3, 2015 [22 favorites]


The real masterpiece is this version by somebody on Reddit:

M: OH MY GAWD YA DRESS IS FAKIN GORGEOUS
W: THANKS
M: I FLEW A BOMMA OVA NAHM, KEHD
W: GIMMIE YA NUMBA DOOD AND WE'LL GO DOWN THE CAPE TOGETHA
M: HANG ON I GOTTA TAKE A PISS

posted by thetortoise at 3:55 PM on October 3, 2015 [37 favorites]


Guy sounds like a project, girl. Run!
posted by discopolo at 4:21 PM on October 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Really isn't that much of a story; maybe its schmaltziness accounts for its spread. Either bad fiction or a boring story. But the whole 'missed connections' thing just rings wrong, terribly desperate, so perhaps it's real.
posted by nothing.especially.clever at 4:28 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I met a boy called Frank Mills on September 12th, right here, outside of the Waverly, but unfortunately I lost his address..."
posted by unknowncommand at 5:25 PM on October 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


This reads so much like The Bridges of Madison County to me that I had to go swig a little pepto bismal. I HATE all of the tropes in this kind of thing. I especially hate people who believe in them and believe they are exemplars like that gross boss I had who loaned me the movie Rhinestone Cowboy because it "explained" him but I never really got the connection between the movie and the fact that he did a deliberately bad job at his cush position at work grrrrrr
posted by janey47 at 6:05 PM on October 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hey, someone mapped the route. It passes by my apartment. I'm almost disappointed it didn't actually happen.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:25 PM on October 3, 2015


One Boston-specific issue: Dec. 31, 1972 was a Sunday. Back then, Massachusetts still had blue laws. Although restaurants were exempted, the place where he and the woman went, Neisner's, was a Woolworth's-like store, so it was probably closed then.

On the other hand, Dec. 31, 1972 was, in fact, rainy in Boston.
posted by adamg at 6:54 PM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am really surprised that no one has yet pointed out the most glaring thing that seems to point to how this whole story is made up: "all I knew about you was your first name." And yet not once in the entire ad seeking a connection does the guy think to mention said name of the mystery woman who saved him from suicide and turned his life around.

I noticed that, but had exactly the opposite reaction. If it were real, holding back her name would make sense. Setting aside privacy issues, it'd be the quickest and easiest way of separating fake replies from potential real ones.
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:15 PM on October 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sense and Sensibility Truth and Truthiness…
posted by Pinback at 9:16 PM on October 3, 2015


Well, someone once saved me like this so fuck y'all if it sounds real or not, it is incredibly beautiful to me, and if I have or ever will do the same for another person I'd be pretty satisfied with my life.

Hmph. Grumpy I even looked at these comments. We're so cynical about an anonymous craigslist post. This made my day better at no cost to anyone, end of story for me.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:42 PM on October 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


There's a lot more people saying "I think this is fiction" than there are saying "I think this is bad"
posted by aubilenon at 10:09 PM on October 3, 2015


Well, someone once saved me like this so fuck y'all if it sounds real or not, it is incredibly beautiful to me, and if I have or ever will do the same for another person I'd be pretty satisfied with my life.

Not too long ago, I talked on here about how a mod e-mail from jessamyn got me to reconsider my outlook on life. I believe there are many real experiences like the one in the story. I also think it's bad writing, and from the way it's written, I doubt it happened to this person. No slam on anyone here moved by this (slam on the writer if it's fake for using Vietnam vets as a cheap trope).
posted by thetortoise at 10:30 PM on October 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think any debunking efforts relying on factual details are going to be fruitless. I misremember shit that happened last summer, let alone decades ago. Catching my misremembered details of an event isn't going to make the entire event untrue.

If anything, the syrupy prose convinced me rather than dissuade me. This is how "non-writers" write touching, heart-wringing life events. I mean it's good, but it is unrestrained in a way that reads very amateurish and sincere to me.

Still, I too am very curious about her version of this story.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:14 AM on October 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I noticed that, but had exactly the opposite reaction. If it were real, holding back her name would make sense. Setting aside privacy issues, it'd be the quickest and easiest way of separating fake replies from potential real ones.

The author claims that he would probably not recognize the woman if he were to see a picture of her today. This leaves the ground wide open for somebody to post a reply to the effect "It was me! [beautifully crafted blah blah blah] - but after all these years I can't reveal my name so as to spare my husband and children so must remain forever your anon woman in teal". If the story was made up then it would be remiss of the author to fail to post this response.
posted by rongorongo at 4:05 AM on October 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I could be misremembering, but I seem to recall that the blue laws were suspended for the month of December. That makes his story a touch more plausible for me.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:30 AM on October 4, 2015


Even if only to himself, how could a person tell such story of such length ever so inelegantly for so long ? How could he live so long and not learn anything about turning a phrase ? Oh, the infelicity!

So, I'm acquainted with this woman, who is most definitely in this guys' age group. She is hands down one of the best story tellers I know. I've read and heard the same story from her, and let me tell you, the written version was as bad as the oral version was good. Telling and writing are two different mediums, they require different skills, and things that work for one don't work for the other.

I'd be willing to bet that a)parts of this story are true, b)parts are mis-remembered, and c)the person telling it is as clueless as to which is which as the rest of us.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:25 AM on October 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Disappointed there is no Brian Williams reference here.

But srsly... this seems bogus for all the aforementioned reasons.
posted by davidmsc at 8:12 AM on October 4, 2015


I'd be willing to bet that a)parts of this story are true, b)parts are mis-remembered, and c)the person telling it is as clueless as to which is which as the rest of us.

I agree with this - my granddad was a an epic storyteller, but he had no clue what was true in his stories and what wasn't. Very early after WW2, he handed in his war diaries to some archive. Much later, when I was a teen, he went in there to look up something, and came home laughing: he had completely misremembered at least half of what happened, including some of the very important things.

Particularly a story like this would be misremembered, if he didn't keep a diary. Because the facts of life which came after that rainy evening would color the story differently over time.

But isn't this history 101?
posted by mumimor at 8:44 AM on October 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like the story and the writing. I read it uncritically, took it in bait, hook and all. Poignant events occur in peoples' lives, effect change and remain intangible, but powerful.

I was once a sunburned nineteen year old, hitchhiking home alone, from northern California. Standing on the highway outside of Fernley, Nevada, with a snow storm bearing down on me. A brand new, orange, Dodge Charger, stopped, and I got in.

The driver was a young man, just back from Viet Nam, who used his discharge bonus to buy the car. He bought me dinner in Elko, and droped me off at home. He was my guardian angel of sorts, we didn't discuss anything heavy. Just before him, a trucker had explained I could have a ride, but I had to share the bunk with his partner; I chose the snow storm. It was a smaller world then, maybe by as much as half. A universe speaks through each of us, sometimes it is a kind shepherd of events. People get older and they want to pay their respects to those who were kind, and even more to element of magic.
posted by Oyéah at 9:19 AM on October 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


After doing a bit of research, I found the woman and sent her an email asking for any details. She said she'd married her an architect who kept her safe and warm and dry.
posted by perhapses at 9:48 AM on October 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


She said she'd married her an architect who kept her safe and warm and dry.

Huh. I heard that she was working in a topless place when he stopped in for a beer. Or maybe it was that she got in his cab and handed him twenty dollars for a two-fifty fare?
posted by thetortoise at 10:08 AM on October 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought about that song too.
posted by Oyéah at 10:16 AM on October 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


She was working in a topless joint when he stopped in for a beer and later handed him a twenty for a $2.50 fare and now he owns 17 houses on more than one continent. Get in touch, madam!
posted by y2karl at 1:08 PM on October 4, 2015


Smith & Wesson Oil. Dylan Thomas wrote this story, Ray Bradbury too. Still, it is probably true. Goddam succubi. It's the freckles. They always get you with the freckles.
posted by Chitownfats at 4:33 PM on October 4, 2015


Tinkletown, you make an important point.

"Let me tell you, little Anna, of a long ago day. I was about to be engaged to a jerk, and ran out crying. I met a man who seemed sympathetic, but then he refused to leave me alone, even grabbing my hand. I tried to get somewhere where no one would see me with him, but was still public and safe. It took almost an hour before he finally went to the bathroom and I was able to escape..."
posted by corb at 4:35 PM on October 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, does this need the fiction tag?
posted by brokkr at 6:31 AM on October 5, 2015


It's the freckles. They always get you with the freckles.

Indeed. Was Gerard Manley Hopkins perhaps thinking of someone's well-freckled shoulders when he wrote "Glory be to God for dappled things..."?
posted by weston at 10:23 AM on October 5, 2015




I mean, yes, many of you fortuitously met an important stranger at the right time, but this is too silly to believe based on the fact that something slightly similar but way less movie-cute happened to you. I mean, was your stranger beautiful? Engaged to someone with a strikingly recognizable name as though to signify s/he was someone of great worth? Were you a traumatized soldier returned from war only a week ago, and was it on the night of the year most invested with a sense of mystical prophecy? Was she the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? Was it raining? Did she seem in need of rescuing from a stifling life of snobbery and parties, thereby enabling you to rescue her and for a moment regain your sense of purpose and masculinity? Was she adorably impulsive? Fuck this "a verrrry physically attractive and young mystery woman saved my life" trope.

Oh my god, even Cameron Crowe would be embarrassed to make this shit up.

Also, if this IS real, and home girl left while you were in the bathroom, she was escaping you. Yeah, so romantic. What beauty.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 2:20 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


« Older Unlockdown Nation   |   Cross that bridge when you come to it Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments