Yawn. Loud slurp of coffee. Sigh. I shuffled to the living room and flopped down on my couch. (This is standard practice. I try to ease into my day, to dull the mini-shocks that accompany my first attempts to function.) Sipping my coffee, I stared at a wall (the wall, I should say. It’s the same one every day) for half an hour. Then I drifted over to my computer to check my email. Verizon thanked me for my payment, Amazon tried to sell me stuff, a friend detailed a fight with her boyfriend. But at the bottom, there it was: a list of my potential matches.
I was on Match.com. Three times a week, I received emails alerting me of potentially ideal mates, whose pictures were laid out in a photo gallery. I looked forward to these emails. They never brought results; though based on statistics, Match’s suggested matches usually left me flat. The men either spelled fun with two n’s, spent all their spare time walking on beaches at sunset, or had chest hair so thick you could hide a sandwich in it. Still, the emails buoyed my hope that there were decent, available—and, most importantly, geographically convenient—men out there.
Eager, I clicked on “Your Newest Matches.”
It caught my eye immediately. I felt a jolt, then zeroed in. It was an all too familiar picture of my ex-boyfriend, Matt. If memory served (and oh, how it did), the shot had been taken at my grandmother’s funeral. We’d been standing arm in arm. If you looked closely, you could still see the shadow of my hand on Matt’s shoulder.
The rest of me was cropped out.
I was bothered by this, but not for reasons you’d expect. I didn’t care that Matt was dating, or that he’d exploited my grandmother’s funeral for his own ends. He’d had his challenges to contend with, and my grandmother had been no ray of sunshine. If I adopted a really positive attitude, I could even see Matt as doing me a favor: if nothing else, the story would be a big hit at parties.
That said, I couldn’t go on with my day as if nothing had happened. I grabbed my phone and dialed Matt’s number. “What the fuck?” I said. “I just got a Match picture of you, and I’m cropped out of it.”
Matt laughed. Despite my best efforts, so did I. “Well, what was I supposed to do?” he asked. “That’s the best picture I had of myself!”
Still laughing, I said, “I beg to differ. It wasn’t one of your best hair days.”” We debated this, then chatted for a few more minutes. And that was that.
No, my problem lay not with jealousy or resentment toward Matt. It lay with being so violently blindsided in the (now questionable) safety of my living room. One minute I was yawning and checking my email; the next I was gaping at the erasure of my existence. I’d been expunged from my own computer screen, before even finishing my coffee.
It just didn’t seem right.