19machine’s new single, Enough of You, is described as “a tenacious pursuit of unrequited love.” As an expression to the song’s soft, alt rock atmosphere and emotionally tender lyrics, I’ve provided a collage of real people, missing real things.
After listening to the song, I got an immediate hankering for one of my favorite past times: reading ad after ad on the Chicago Craigslist Missed Connections page, and, sometimes, from the Lost & Found page. Use my selections as a meditative tool toward longing, remembering, and searching; The tenacious pursuit of unrequited love can take many forms.
I will begin by guiding you through my perusing of the Lost & Found page:
The Craigslist Lost & Found page is used for lost objects or pets, for the most part.
“1 year old orange tabby last see. At speedway on 127th and college dr along with maine coon siamese cat if found i will reward you. 100$ cats ran out car while being picked up from sitter and stupid brother didn’t put them in cat carrier.”
The oddest object I came across was a standing bass.
“My son’s instrument the bass which is the huge huge orchestra guitar looking instrument was taken from the back of my minivan a few days ago in crown point. It was in a black case.
Thought by some miracle if you seen a neighbor, friend, child with it let me know so i can get it recovered and I will pay you.”
Animals are the major focus, though. A post I found particularly touching is from a concerned Chicagoan attempting to care for a lost pigeon:
“This guy has been up and down the block the last two days. He cant seen to fly well.. Wondering if he might had been a pet who got loose. We have list of cats around the area…I hate to see him get hurt…if he’s not hurt already.”
As perplexing as it may be for someone to worry about a city pigeon, it, to me, reflects an extreme sense of care. In the same vein, I found a post that wins an award for being the most abstract: an ad seeking a missing event, or missing information, titled, “Does Anyone Know / Remember Just What Happened in this House?”
Before I begin the Missed Connections section, I want to include a post I saved from the Talent Gigs page, months ago, that reflects a relentless pursuit of family approval, and, arguably, of a different reality.
“Groomsmen Needed in Summer 2020 Wedding: An upcoming role for groomsmen needed. I’m marrying the love of my life, but apparently in need of a few dudes to stand next to me. The role is a professional-looking male, late 20s-early 20s. You’ll be playing the role of my good friend from Millikin University, where we both attended in 2008-2012. You’ll need to be able to come up with memorable college stories to be able to tell my family. Everyone from my side attending the wedding will be family, so there is no chance they’ll know who you are. Please reply with headshots, a backstory for your character, and a 2-minute party story.”
My favorite part about the Chicago Missed Connections page is the strange gaps viewers have to fill in to imagine what situation the post could possibly be referencing. There is, for example, what appears to have been a wonderful a cemetery hook up.
“We met once at Rosehill Cemetery and you told me I had the softest lips ever. Won’t get into too many details, but we had a really FUN time. I have long brown hair and gorgeous green eyes. You are about 6′, silver hair and beautiful brown eyes and mid 50s. Lost contact and would love to meet up again!”
My other favorite part is the poetry:
“MC Brown Jacket Lady
What is? To speak with you or see you, I tried not. Friends Anew, away I moved.What do you want? The blood of my heart you took, the name you destroyed, what more? to take myself away. You got away, does that mean nothing? So why not just leave me be in peace? What is it do you seek?
Inspired by the brown jacket lady
I am not really seeking to connect ‘cause I am afraid of – but I seen you look at me and smile, not sure if its an aha I got you smile or aw cute. Id let you get away with a lot but dk if you would treat me well”
There are niche friendships that have faded and are now missed, like a past fitness pal.
“Lost phone and all contacts. We used to have fun talk about exercise and nutrition and almonds for healthy snacks. You really motivated me.. how is your fitness plan working”
Clever riddles and tests to verify the identities of those pursued:
“We were waiting outside the changing rooms while our wives tried on clothes. You told me a joke about a sailor that found relief using a barrel but then your wife came out before you got to the punchline.
1. What is the punchline and would you like to meet up some time?
2. Does anyone else know the punchline.”
There are eerie posts, kinda like that of the house event. A post that simply reads:
“I know about your son, Jack.”
Posts for people who understand the inappropriateness of pursuing their unrequited love, and just need somewhere to vent:
“I’m crushing HARD on my kid’s teacher. She’s beautiful, she’s kind, she’s amazing and loved by her kids and she’s very good at her job. I’m single but it’s a MC because I’m not going to be creepy and be inappropriate and ask her out. So I’m just getting it out of my system here. Siiiiiiiggghhhh…”
Cajetan Sorich (she/her) is a Chicago writer and performance artist.