Wednesday, June 06, 2007

An Internet Story

I make friends online. I put myself out there all over the interweb, which means inevitably every now and then somebody finds me and sends a MySpace message or AIM. I'll respond to the messages if it's convenient (i.e. I'm at home) or if the person seems intriguing for whatever reason.

Until recently (story to follow) everyone I'd talked to had been very straightforward and honest. I've met a few people in person and kept a few friends that I continue to converse with online. There are plenty of people I talk to once for 10 mins and never talk to again.

A few months ago, I'm home on a lazy Saturday and an IM pops up. It's from a guy. He says he found my blog and liked it. Wanted to send me a message. Ok, pretty standard so far. We start talking. Exchange all the standard basics - name (Marco), age (26), hometown (west village, nyc), school (Columbia), job (grad student - anthropology/music). So far so good. We talk for... five hours. Shit that's a long time. Before we part, I ask for some more information. Generally I like to confirm people's existence via anything else (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Virb, etc). He says he doesn't have any of those. Hrmmmm ok. I decide that it is technically possible that someone wouldn't have these things since really none of my college or grad school friends do. Instead he offers up an email address, a last name, and a picture. Well, that seems forthcoming enough.

So then we talk for the next four or five days for a few hours each night. What about? Nonsense really. We discuss religion and talk about starting a "Church of the Ambivalent" complete with Cafe Press t-shirts and hipster rituals. We send each other NYTimes links. We talk about how we like water at room temperature and walking around Manhattan. We discuss our passion for music. Each day things get a little more flirtatious. I wink. He smiles. I'm not one to fall easily, particularly for internet strangers, but for some reason he seems more real. (And he's tall!) He tells me about his family's dogs that he's brought to the AMC for years. He knows past doctors names and has good stories to match. I can tell he's smart and our conversations are fast paced and interesting.

We make plans to meet that Friday. I like to get the in-person thing over with quickly because people can be completely different online and in-person. Thursday night we exchange phone numbers and decide to make more concrete plans via IM or text the following day. He's got a 212 cell. I mention that that's unusual. He says it was his fathers. OK. Friday morning passes, then the afternoon, then the evening. It's nine PM and I've heard nothing. He's not online. Hrrrmmmm. I send a text. It bounces back to me. Land line. I'm perplexed. I google the phone number. It's a fax number for a doctor at Cornell Weill. Confusion. I google his name. No results. I'm mad and disappointed. Wasting a Friday night is not my idea of fun.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday pass... no word. Tuesday - there's an IM. Excuse: Family crisis - brother checked into rehab. I decide that this is plausible. He had previously mentioned the younger brother and who am I to demand a text message during a family crisis? He apologizes profusely. I mention the phone number business. He says he swears it's his phone number. I tell him I thought I was crazy. He assures me I was not. For some reason, I believe all this. I guess I wanted to believe. I decide I should get confirmation. I go to the Columbia directory. He's not in it. Hrrmmmm. I let it go. I tell myself I'm paranoid. Stop being crazy.

We start talking again. Regularly. In the evenings, a couple hours each night. It's more of the same - only now we delve deeper. We talk about our families and friends. We talk about our hopes and fears. We talk about things we're proud of and things we're insecure about. We talk about all the fun things we can do in New York City together. A few weeks pass. I'm not pushing to meet because I'm busy and, frankly, a little intimidated. He's good looking. He's confident. He's obviously interested. But he's not pushing to meet because.... ? Good question. The whole time I'm on the lookout. Looking for things that don't add up. Things that make a person crazy. Things that can't be true. There aren't any. In fact, despite our differences everything is shaping up like we are going to be immensely compatible. I'm nearly happy again for the first time in a long time.

Week four or five. We make plans for a Friday night again. I express some anxiety about our meeting. I'm nervous, I say. He says he doesn't understand why I'd be nervous. We've talked for 60+ hours at this point. How could we NOT get along?? he says. I tell him he better not stand me up again this time and add in a *wink for good measure. Friday morning passes, Friday afternoon. I send an email - a good natured one, asking him to call. No contact. I try calling the phone number - it just rings. No voicemail. Friday night comes and goes. I get drunk with my coworkers because I'm so hurt it's killing me. I'm embarrassed at being so attached to someone I've never met. I'm mad at myself for being so optimistic.

Saturday he blocks me from his IM buddy list. I decide to leave it alone. I send him an email on Wednesday saying I wish he could have at least explained himself. No response. A week and a half later I decide I'm going to send one last email. It bounces back. Email account unknown. Sixty hours and a little piece of my self - all for naught.

Just a little bit harder to trust people.

The End


At 12:26 PM, June 07, 2007, Blogger The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons, Jr. said...

Whoa!!! thats crazy! well, the signs were there and you chose to overlook them.. but what do you think *he* got out of all of this????

At 3:25 PM, June 07, 2007, Blogger Anne said...

That question is the essence of why this situation bothered me so much. I just don't understand it. All that I can think that he got out of it would be some sort of sick satisfaction of knowing he duped me. Odd.

At 9:55 AM, June 08, 2007, Blogger Chris Teso said...

perhaps it was an ex, in disguise?

At 11:00 AM, June 08, 2007, Blogger Anne said...

Someone else suggested that as well, but none of my exes have the extensive knowledge of the hospital where I work now (which this person did). And for the most part, they aren't exes because I wanted them to be. Could it be a co-worker?? I certainly hope not. My guess is random New Yorker with a penchant for tormenting emotionally fragile overworked 20-somethings.

At 3:27 PM, June 08, 2007, Blogger Dr. Claw said...

My in-depth analysis is that "Marco" is an ugly, socially retarded, mean-spirited piece of crap.

Good riddance!

At 12:58 PM, July 07, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is the guy you asked me to look up, (sorry, haven't been on here in awhile). I think he's a married guy, or at least involved, and just wanted a platonic fling. Probably a pretty lonely guy. I don't think that justifies the deception, but it's probably the most likely answer.


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