in the pacific northwest, the romantic drama is on the bus …

This really is too much fun.  From a scholarly study of the Craiglist "Missed Connections" section, where people express a romantic interest in someone that they saw out in the world.  You know, ads like this:

We were both on the max [light rail]–me heading to the Blazer's game and you on your bike. You overheard part of my conversation with my friend and were quite amused. I wanted to talk to you but then got pushed back by other riders. Email me if you remember that conversation and would like to grab a drink sometime.

So here, by state, is the location most often cited in "Missed Connections" ads (click to sharpen):

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In rail-rich older urban areas, it's rail transit, of course, the subway or train or metro.  But in relatively rail-poor parts of the country, only Oregon and Washington find so much wistful romantic drama on public transit!  This is one of those slightly twisted points of "Portlandia"-style pride that makes me proud to be an Oregonian transit planner.  

8 Responses to in the pacific northwest, the romantic drama is on the bus …

  1. Bruce Nourish February 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at how WalMart is apparently the de facto public commons for much of America.

  2. Jay February 22, 2013 at 3:47 am #

    Indiana = at home?
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    I was hoping PA’s would have been a bit cooler. Or at least unique. Like ‘out hunting deer,’ or something like that.

  3. Dave February 22, 2013 at 6:17 am #

    Now somebody should study whether people in regions with high transit usage have better success finding love (or extra love). Either way, the average transit user probably has an extra five hours per week of potential social interaction or mate spotting that those of us stuck in cars do not.

  4. Mark in Kenmore February 22, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    How often do they have state fairs in Oklahoma?

  5. Zoltán February 22, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    What I found fascinating here was the clear dominance of entire states by locations that only or mainly exist in their major city – New York State and Massachusetts by New York and Boston’s subways; Illinois by trains and the Northwest by buses (which exist all over those states, but are concentrated in Chicago, Seattle, Portland and Eugene). I suspect most gym and bar-goers are in cities too.
    All of which is evidence of the joy of living in cities. Sharing space with innumerable strangers, enjoying a multitude of casual interactions, some of which clearly sticks in the minds of those posting a missed connection.
    If one appreciates that, then transit forms part of the richness of urban life. If there’s a problem with transit, it isn’t its failure to meet the inherent desire to sit alone in a metal box, it’s networks that could provide more speed, frequency and/or coverage than they do. It’s easier to make that happen than to engage in some technophile solution to put more of us in our own metal boxes.

  6. Keith in Toronto February 22, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    I can see the potential hook-ups on the bus in Seattle, especially the Judkins Park trolleybus going up hill out of downtown, since it tends everyone standing up tends to end up bodies all smashed together at the back of the bus as it climbs a 7% grade.
    I can see the missed subway (metro) connections in NYC, Boston, and Washington.
    I understand (but cringe) at the Wal-Mart states…
    But missed connections in a car…??? License plate-based stalking comes to mind… I’ll avoid a drive through.
    But what’s with Indiana??? Missed connections at home? That raises so many questions about Hoosiers.

  7. Daniel February 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    The Australian free commuter newspaper MX (in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane) has a column called “Here’s looking at you”, for people who’ve spotted a potential romantic interest on public transport.

  8. Al Dimond February 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    @Mark in Kenmore: I Googled this one. The State Fair Park is in OKC, hosts many events year round, and has permanent attractions.
    @Zoltan: This is a study of Craigslist, which implies a certain demographic and geographic skew. Craigslist is generally a website whose utility and use is multiplied by proximity to large numbers of strangers, and the “missed connections” section is no exception.

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