This is an earlier draft of a piece that appears in my collection of essays and other random stuff, Raised by Turtles: A Book in American. Some day, I will take the final version and reformat it and paste it in here, but for now it is only available in print for
$4.95 $6.44 (I guess inflation has hit Amazon too – I can’t make it cheaper as there is already no profit in that price).
I’m looking to expand my network on LinkedIn, but I find some of the choices for the nature of the connection to be surprisingly personal and precise.
- We worked together
- verification: name of company
- We went to school together
- verification: name of school
- We’re friends
- verification: contact’s email address
- We used to see each other at Starbucks a lot and always enjoyed talking, but never really connected. I’d like to do so now.
- verification: favorite drink
- We were married for twelve years, but in the end it just never worked out. We loved each other, or at least I loved her, but then career came along and we were stuck in all-consuming jobs we hated, but we didn’t see a way out and somehow along the way we lost the spark. Maybe we could have saved it if we had gone to counseling, but somehow we had lost the will to save it and we let it go without a fight. I mean I’m happy now in my current marriage, but I can’t help thinking it was still a shame to let that one go. I really felt like a failure at the time and I still feel some of that today and now I’m thinking about her and thinking that maybe we should have stayed in contact, though I’d be hard-pressed to explain why, because the more I think about her the more I think we did get divorced for some pretty valid reasons, but I’d still like to have a LinkedIn contact with her.
- verification: that thing you would say that sounded completely neutral and factual to someone on the outside, but which was in fact really hurtful, but you could pretend it wasn’t and act like she was way too sensitive.
- We dated and we were really in love but we just couldn’t commit to each other. I can’t explain why. I loved her and she was a great woman and I know she loved me, but for some reason I just wasn’t there yet. Maybe it was a lack of maturity. Maybe I saw some sign of trouble. I think if I could have focused on her good qualities and not gotten hung up on the one or two little things that I didn’t absolutely love about her, we would still be together. I’ve hesitated to contact her now that I’m married and last I heard she was too, but somehow the time seems right. I just hope it doesn’t cause an issue with our spouses. I should probably think about this a bit more, but I’ve been going back and forth on this for months and I think I’m just going to take the plunge and connect.
- verification: that thing she used to do that let you know that she was faking her orgasm.
- I had an intense crush on her in seventh grade and obsessed over her for pretty much the whole year and almost talked to her once except just as I was about to say something Carol Tennaty came up and said hi to her. I think she was really cute then, but not the most beautiful girl in the seventh grade. That would have been Stephie Grimpson who I always thought was way too stuck on herself anyway. But I really liked this other girl,the one I’m connecting with here, and was pretty sure I had found that one subtly cute girl who everyone else was overlooking but was in fact a great catch. I’m not totally sure about all that though because it was 41 years ago and when I try to remember my seventh-grade classmates, they all look about 22 in my memories, so I wonder how cute she really was then and her LinkedIn profile picture is too small to give me a sense of how attractive she is now, so I’m a bit uncertain about the whole thing, though really how cute she was then or how attractive she is now isn’t the main thing. I mostly thought she seemed really nice and even a giant profile pic couldn’t tell me that. So I’d like to connect with her and who knows, maybe we’ll be in the same city some day and I’ll finally get to actually talk to her.
- verification: what was the name of the social studies teacher that all the girls had a crush on?
- We met on a plane and it turned out we were heading to the same conference and staying at the same hotel and had really similar likes and hobbies. We hung out at the conference and attended sessions together and went to a lot of the same events. He was like my long-lost brother, but that was before the internet and it was just too damn hard to keep in touch and so we didn’t. But I think I found him on LinkedIn (although I thought he spelled his name Brien not Brian) and it might be the same guy, though we probably have totally drifted apart because I was a completely different person back then and I’m sure he was too, but he still seems like a brother in my mind and I’d kind of like to connect, even though it might shatter that memory. What if he turns out to be a Trump voter? I’m willing to take the risk though and would still like to connect. I mean, what’s politics between brothers?
- verification: what tattoo did the totally hot Hispanic woman you were both flirting with but who really was not interested in either of you have on her left shoulder?
- He actually was my brother. My half-brother anyway. I mean, I guess technically he still is my half-brother. We shared a dad, though “share” is kind of the wrong word because once my dad ran off with Kyle’s mom, “the bitch” as my mom called her, my dad, or “Sauron” as my mom called him, was really Kyle’s dad pretty much exclusively since my mom did everything she could to prevent me from seeing Sauron, which was a shame because Kyle and I were about the same age and he didn’t seem like a little Nazgul, but my mom made it so unpleasant for us, we pretty much just stopped seeing my dad. I mean his dad. Or technically his step-dad I guess. Anyway, now that my mom and Sauron are dead, I feel like the little Nazgul is all I have left for family even though we aren’t blood relatives at all. We did share a dad, at least in series if not in parallel, so I’d like to connect.
- verification: where was Sauron working when he started shacking up with the bitch?
- He was my dog. I don’t really believe in this stuff, but I swear when I came across his profile picture, I had this incredible, powerful, visceral memory of us in past life out in a pasture in Spain shepherding our sheep. I would recognize that face anywhere. It was definitely the same face that I saw in the vision of the dog and it was just too powerful to be imagination. It was a memory for sure, but not of this life. Now that the memory has resurfaced, I really miss my dog. Every day, longingly, achingly. I feel like part of my working self has been amputated and I finally realized it. We have had no contact in this life, but I am sure if I could just get an article of clothing to him, he would recognize my scent and remember our shepherding days in the sixteenth century and it would be great to add him to my network.
- verification: what does a two short, sharp whistle followed by a rising, somewhat longer whistle mean?