Missing Connections

This post was inspired by my recent perusings of the Missed Connections on Craigslist. If you haven’t read through them and are looking for a complete time-waster on the internet (and are over 18, as some contain mature content– also, don’t open anything with a picture) I recommend it. Some of them are very entertaining (“You almost hit me in the WalMart parking lot, but you’re so hot, call me”). Oh so romantic. 

To get you in the right mood, here’s a song by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals called “Loneliest Soul.”


  • The cute guy at Old Crow Medicine Show 4th concert—

You were dancing next to me, with your mesh trucker hat, plaid button-up short-sleeve shirt, Chacos, and climbing shorts. We made eye contact once, and then you disappeared in the crowd of identically-dressed men, all of which were more or less of equal attractiveness. So pretty much any guy who was at the concert can feel free to call me… Let me know what color my Crocs were so I know it’s you. (Hint: they’re orange).

I need something 
But I get nothing 
My hearts pumping 
I can’t leave it alone 
I think you know 


  • Climber-dude we ran into again at Music on Main—

We first ran into you climbing at Rodeo Wall with your friend. You both had your shirts off, and were leading some pretty good routes. We chatted. You had eyes for my friend. I had eyes for yours. We ran into you again, this time with your mesh trucker hat and plaid button-up shirt, at the Music on Main concert in Idaho the next day. You look better with a hat on (the jury is still out on the shirt). Also, my friend is quite willing to be flung. So go for it.

  • Climbing gym patron with The Spot sticker on your car—

No idea who you are, but seeing that sticker makes me homesick for Boulder. I just want to say hi and reminisce about Colorado rock for a while. Also, since you seem to have a gym membership, we should climb sometime.

march fourth marching band

  • Trombone player in Marching Fourth Marching Band (the one with the leopard booty shorts, studded belt, calf-skin cape and white drum major hat, not the one in the kilt and cut-off t-shirt)—

Your outfit makes me question your sexuality a bit, but then again you are a trombone player. I was quite impressed by your chops and by your acrobatic ability as you stood on the shoulders of the male dancer and helped lift up the female dancer. If you want to duet, I’ll bust out my clarinet and we can play some funky music, white boy.

  • Dude in the Toyota 4Runner—

You gave me a weird look as I was sitting on the side of the road with my collection of 10 ft mist net poles, large backpack stuffed with mist nets, banding supplies, and a scale, waiting to get picked up after a morning of bird banding. Yeah, that’s right, I saw you looking at me. Anytime you want to come learn about bird banding, you are more than welcome to visit our banding station. Just stop on by, I’ll give you a personalized tour.

Sweet dreamin’ 
Strange feelin’ 
My hearts reelin’ 
I can’t leave it alone 
I think you know

  • Bartender at Thai Me Up—

We talked about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie that was playing on the tv above the bar. I ordered happy hour curry and a beer. You brought me a huge stack of napkins, and then a rag to mop up the curry I couldn’t seem to keep on my plate. I promise I’m not usually that messy, it’d just been a long day and I had just finished climbing at the gym. Invite me back (and pay for my curry) and I’ll prove to you I have better table manners. Also, I want to see the end of the TMNT movie.


Mountain Project screenshot_618x262

  • Guy on Mountain Project

You messaged me about climbing in Pennsylvania a year and a half after I put up the post. Not sure what part of “I’m in PA for 6 months for an internship, looking to get out and climb. Will only be here until November” you didn’t understand. I have since then had two different internships in two different states, and have accordingly updated my Partner Finder profile. But yes, we can totally meet up and climb maybe sometime when I’m back East in three months. Because I definitely want to spend my three days at home driving two hours to climb at McConnell’s Mills (40 feet tall, 25 routes total, especially after living in Colorado and Wyoming with Eldorado Canyon, the Flatirons, and the Grand Tetons less than 20 minutes away in my backyard. I’m always looking for climbing partners, especially ones who can’t read real well.

Are you lonely 
Like I’m lonely 
I am the loneliest soul 
So leave me alone 


What being an American means to me

I’m a few days behind, but better late than never, right?


As I stood watching the fireworks after listening to Old Crow Medicine Show give a free concert in Jackson, Wyoming on the night of July 4th, I again realized that we really do live in a great country.

“Don’t you ever feel guilty for being an American?” a friend asked as we walked back to the car afterwards.

“No,” I said.

She seemed a little shocked by my answer. “Not even with all the stuff that’s going on around the world, like in Egypt right now with their government?” (Egypt’s political unrest causes regional concern)

“No. I feel extremely grateful for having been born here, and for living here, but I don’t feel guilty. I didn’t choose it, so it’s not something that I’m going to feel guilty for.”

staring down lincoln_618x464

Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., 2011.

We then got distracted by two men passing on bikes singing “Wagon Wheel,” but I wanted to continue the conversation. By the time we found the car and navigated traffic, my friend was asleep in the passenger seat, so I was left to the radio and my own thoughts.


Like with any privilege, I think part of being an American means being the best person you can be. It means taking advantage of the opportunities you have, and using them to make the world a better place. This applies to everyone, from every country, this isn’t a distinctly American thing. That is what traveling, both in the US and around the world, has taught me. Coming home from Asia and deciding to renounce all worldly possessions, become a freegan and live off the grid in the woods behind my parent’s house does nothing to help alleviate the poverty and corruption I saw on a daily basis in Cambodia and Nepal. It might make me feel self-righteous and holier-than-thou-because-I-don’t-bathe-on-a-daily-basis-and-eat-weird-organic-foods, but it’s not going to actually do anything (except maybe make my parents become extremely worried about my mental and physical health).

I have a college education, and not using it to help the world makes it, in a way, worthless. Knowledge for it’s own sake is good, we should always keep learning, but what really matters is what you then do with your knowledge. If you are making the world a better place, then you are doing what you’re meant to be doing. It doesn’t matter if you start a non-profit foundation that saves pandas or simply smile at everyone you meet as you walk down the sidewalk. If that’s what you can do, do it.


The American Robin: even more American than apple pie. (This is a juvenile, which is why it might look a little funny). 

We each have different paths in life, different callings. Mine is not to become a doctor and travel to 3rd world countries and provide vaccines to starving children. But I’m not going to feel guilty about it. My calling, at least for right now, is to do research on birds, to share that research with other people, and to encourage them to love the natural world as much as I do. Today I showed small children how to catch birds in a mist net, and how to band them, and then they “helped” me let them go. The wonder on their faces is what I do to make this world a better place. Is holding a wild bird for a moment so a 5 year old can look at it as important as giving that 5 year old their booster shot, or sending food to starving children in Africa? Yes, it is, because that’s what I can do.

I am many things, just one of which is an American. I will not say that I am always in agreement with everything that goes on in this country, or with my fellow Americans, but I will say this: I do not feel guilty for being who I am. I love my country and the people in it, for who we have been, for who are right now, and for who we will become.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans, white with foam,

God bless America, my home sweet home.