February 1st, 2008.
I always walked from work to the 72nd St. station, where I could catch the 3 itself (hooray, 3 train!), instead of having to wait for the 1 before transferring to the 3 (boo, transferring!). But it was gray and ugly and raining out, and so I went instead to the significantly closer 59th St. station (ETERNALLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION!).
I should also note that I was wearing an extraordinarily silly hat.
When the train pulled up, I waded through the mosh of cranky frowning people, finding a place to stand. A ladytypeperson about my age looked at me, saw my silly hat, and smiled the "that dude is wearing a silly hat" smile. With which you are all familiar. I smiled back at her. It was one of those ephemeral moments that ought to be no more than a pleasant memory.
But I had just that month decided that my new mantra would be "Make The More Interesting Choice". Initial capitals. And as I looked at her next to me, I had the sense that we would be very good friends if only we knew each other. It's one of those things you really can't know. But I knew it. Then I saw that her bag was made of vinyl and featured on its face the cover of the Revolver album, and then I knew regardless of the outcome, I would regret it if I didn't do something.
And but so I couldn't figure out a way to talk to her that wouldn't look like a creepysubwaypickup. With which you are all familiar. So, instead, I wrote her a note.
It said: "Hi! It was really nice that you smiled at me. Also, your bag rules. That's all. Have a beautiful day."
And I signed it with my first name (marsupial?). And nothing else. Because it wasn't a pickup, it really wasn't, and I just wanted to have a real moment of human connection, and since we live in the future with our shiny-magic phones and Internets I figured that if she wanted to find me, she would. It's like the plot of a Kate Beckinsale movie, only it doesn't suck.
So at 96th St., I tapped her on the shoulder, handed her the note, smiled, and walked away.
Lo and behold: that night, there was a Missed Connections posting (the first and only time I'd ever checked it) obviously aimed at me! "You have no idea how much your note made my day. I wish you had left a last name or an email address. If by some random chance you see this, tell me what my bag looked like, and we'll talk."
So I told her what her bag looked like. And we talked. And she is now one of my best friends in the entirety of the entire world. We've been to Prague and Berlin and Edinburgh and even Wisconsin (The House on the Rock!) together. I can hardly imagine my life since then without her. And if that's not proof that we should always, always, always make the more interesting choice, then nothing ever will be.
But I think it is. So I hope to. Always.
OK. Here ends the story.