I. Posting a Flyer

If anyone wants to talk about anything, call me (347) 469-3173.

—Jeff, one lonely guy

570-231-XXXX

So how did everyone get your number in the first place?

 

516-859-XXXX

Wow, I just saw your sign on a pole a couple days ago.

 

478-213-XXXX

Flyer guy?

 

347-441-XXXX

Jeff, can I call you?

970-433-XXXX

Sup 🙂

 

646-785-XXXX

Why did you post this sign?

 

908-420-XXXX

Im lonely too.

 

361-688-XXXX

Jeff, are you real?

 

843-330-XXXX

What’s your gamer tag?

Rodrigo

I definitely feel disconnected. Too virtual.

 

980-328-XXXX

Jeff, you intrigue me. I hope I can talk to you more in depth.

 

270-604-XXXX

Whose number is this?

 

347-638-XXXX

Wow, this is a real number.

Lydia

No we haven’t met. I saw your flyer and it would be cool to get to know you. How are you?

 

910-818-XXXX 4

Talk to me. . . . Suckish and lonely. Wbu?

 

908-420-XXXX

Standing out in the cold 🙁 . . . Talk to me.

 

605-321-XXXX

Jeffy poo

Lucinda

Hey, Jeff, I saw your number on a phone pole and decided to text you.

 

646-734-XXXX

Keep me company.

 

Brittany (210-323-XXXX)

Hello Lonely Man. One question—whatever possessed you to post your number up for the world to see?

It’s kind of a self-portrait.

 

917-886-XXXX

I dnt need to tlk i was calling cause i saw ur poster whats the deal with that? . . . Dude i don’t know u and my friend tld me to call u as a joke. . . . Plz like im fine idk u plz stop. . . . No offense but i feel weird and like yeah sorry to come off mean but plz feel better and get better.

 

718-530-XXXX

I hate myself, too. You know those ads that are like “Would you have a drink with you?” To be totally honest, I absolutely wouldn’t.

 

908-420-XXXX

I saw your ad and I just wanted to talk for awhile.

Caitlin

Was Kira the one that started all of this?

 

219-688-XXXX

Hey is this Jeff? I just called you to see if it was for real, but I chickened out and couldn’t talk.

 

646-533-XXXX

Yo, bro, u gonna leave me and my balls hangin dry? Why put up the ad if ur not gonna reply?

 

917-361-XXXX

She won’t ever talk to you again?

 

917-373-XXXX

Jeff, I saw your thingy-ma-bobber and—oh, wait, I can’t talk to you.

Erin 5

Jeff, we should be friends. That way you won’t be lonely anymore. . . . Aw well thank you. I’m here for you. Just so you know.

 

847-668-XXXX

Hi. I read your poster. And wondered if you’d like a new friend?

 

602-206-XXXX

I find your experiment inspiring! I just called you a little while ago.

 

646-641-XXXX

I saw your number in Chelsea. I work in the area. How are you, lonely guy?

 

Caitlin (409-350-XXXX)

I’m good. I’m always good.

Caitlin told me she’s bipolar, terribly depressed, and nearly committed suicide last year.

 

949-572-XXXX

My son introduced me to Imgur.com. It’s great to see your flyer. Jeff, what you did took courage. I like it. It showed trust of humanity. You not lonely anymore?

 

Mike, from Brooklyn

I found your number on 4chan. Bro, you from Brooklyn?

I told Mike I live in a boarding house in West Harlem. Trash covers the sidewalks. The awnings are rusted; the signs are torn. Old men stand on the streets all day, bullshitting. They play dominoes and cards at night. A man was shot in front of the boarding house where I live. Every block: drug dealers on all corners, check-cashing places, Chinese takeout. After one a.m., every question is, What do you need—weed, coke, heroin?

 

Hans

Hey, Jeff. I was figuring to see if I’d be the longest-distance person you’ve had. . . . I’m in Korea.

 

Melissa

Hey jeff, i called, from Japan, and you didn’t answer, way to waste my minutes ass!

 

912-656-XXXX

Hey. I’m in Georgia. Hey, do you know my sister, Barbara, by chance? . . . I guess it is a big city.

 

209-914-XXXX

Has hella people texted you?

 

917-520-XXXX

There are so many people in Manhattan, but it can be the loneliest place on earth. I lived in Beirut and it was a beautiful place. Less lonely than Manhattan, actually.

 

212-203-XXXX

Hey hottie. How’s Dallas?

 

970-433-XXXX

Jeff! It’s the people who just called you from Colorado! Wassup?

 

Marta, 50s, woman from Ecuador (917-385-XXXX)

I was walking down 5th Avenue and saw your flyer. I’m incredibly lonely, too. I’m the “lonely woman.” No family, friends. I live in a tiny room of a shared apartment in Queens. You want to go for a walk next weekend?

I said yes.

 

713-478-XXXX

Are you the guy from New York?

 

Miguel, Miami

Love your poster. Mind if I try it in Miami? . . . Thanks, Jeff. . . . Come on down. I’ll hook you up with clubs and chicks.

 

Sanitation worker (917-359-XXXX)

Jeff, is it you who’s been posting those flyers? We can fine you.

 

American man in Saudi Arabia

I saw it because somebody posted your flyer on my Facebook page. . . . No, it’s cool. . . . You can be lonely in the desert or at Times Square.

 

Loralei, San Diego

Saw your flyer. I’ve been in San Diego for the last thirty years and I just wanted to talk to a New Yorker who’s doing something bold. Let’s get together.

 

Kerry (011-614-XXXX-XXXX), Sydney, Australia

Hey Jeff—are you still lonely? Or cursing the day you posted that flyer? Sadly, loneliness is a terrible side effect of a connected virtual world.

 

310-662-XXXX

You rule reddit, Jeff.

 

347-364-XXXX

Wass rong with you? Y u got problems??

I’m a self-saboteur. Growing up, I was told over and over I’d never amount to anything; when I actually get some success, I can’t deal with it. I don’t think I deserve it, so I destroy it. I know that’s what happened with my stand-up comedy career. I was one of the best storytelling stand-ups in New York. I did really well on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Then it was gone. I’m ashamed to even show up now to stand-up gigs.

 

806-223-XXXX 7

Sounds fun. Better than Arkansas.

 

787-518-XXXX

I’m pretty sure you’ll find someone thanks to the sign.

A woman saw me putting up a sign on the street and called me that night. She sends me dozens of texts every day. Has a grad degree in social work. Says she’s a virgin at 26. She’s not bad looking. Says she “jerks off a lot,” though. She’s only kissed guys, and not for three years. Last guy she was with was from Germany and he went back. Her texts are all about love. When I met her on the street, she had a strange, smiling look in her eyes. My intuition says to stay away. When I first met Kira, my intuition said the same thing.

 

_____________________

Jeff Ragsdale has worked as a stand-up comedian, actor, and home builder. He lives in New York City.

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TNB Nonfiction features some of the web's best essays, excerpts of up-and-coming books, self-interviews, profiles, and humor from a wide range of authors. Past and future writers include Emily Rapp, Mira Bartók, Nick Flynn and Melissa Febos, among many others.  Our editorial team includes:  SETH FISCHER is the Nonfiction Editor. His work has appeared in Guernica, Joyland, Best Sex Writing, and elsewhere, and he was the first Sunday editor at The Rumpus. His nonfiction was selected as notable in The Best American Essays, and he has been awarded fellowships by Jentel, the Ucross Foundation, Lambda Literary, and elsewhere. He is also a developmental editor of nonfiction and fiction, and he teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles, UCLA-Extension, and Writing Workshops Los Angeles.

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