Thursday, February 19, 2009

Facebook, Make Me a Match!

I’m continually amazed at how helpful my Facebook community can be.

Two cases in point:

Here’s the first one: This past Monday, having finished the reading for my econ class, but still baffled by the concept of “dead weight loss,” I posted the following status update: “Jane is hoping that someone out there in Facebook-land understands dead weight loss and can explain it better than Mankiw.”

Much to my delight, I received the following explanation from Dave, a guy who sat next to me in 10th grade algebra and with whom I’ve recently connected on Facebook:

“Jane, pretty simple if you think about it personally. Dead weight losses are those transactions that are not getting done because consumers factor in the tax of the transaction and decide, ‘no, that is just too much, i.e, sales tax.’ So if a Prada bag costs $2000.00 and that is all you had to spend, but then there was a 8.375 percent New York tax on it or an additional $167.50, you might choose not to buy it at all. Those lost transactions are the dead weight and create a surplus. Does that help?”

“Yes,” I replied. “It's a perfect explanation! Thanks! Do you teach economics? Where has life taken you since high school? Hope the years have been good to you...and thanks again for the clear and concise description of dead weight loss.”

From his response back to me, I learned that today, more than three decades after we were together in Mrs. Haley’s algebra class, Dave owns a technology contracting business and he has degrees in accounting and computer science. By his own estimate, he took something like five semesters of econ as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland and loved it. In today’s business climate, he says, everyone needs to be a micro economist. Hmmmm, Dave could definitely be my new best friend…

Here’s the second case in point: The next day, upon returning with painful shins from my fairly new, early-morning treadmill routine, I posted this status update: “Jane finished 20 minutes on the treadmill at level 3 (4 mph, top speed). Could have kept going except for the burning shins. Suggestions, FB friends?”

Within minutes, my Facebook friends came through for me again.

“The elliptical is much easier on body parts,” said one, a cantor I met last year at a L’taken seminar in Washington, DC.

Two Union for Reform Judaism trustees provided almost identical advice: “Check your shoes; you may need new ones…and after about 10 minutes, stop and stretch!” they said. One went on to email me a one-page, 30-minute treadmill workout that she's used successfully.

Someone else, a friend froam Lafayette College, whom I knew through Hillel, chimed in with this: “Hi Jane. My shins also bothered me when I started the treadmill. I spend about 2 or 3 minutes stretching out my legs before I start now and no longer have the problem. I Googled exercises for shin splints and saw a couple of videos on how to do the stretches. Good luck.”

All this relatively easy-to-come-by information (thanks, everybody!) got me thinking about other useful connections my Facebook friends might be able to help me make, and it wasn't long before I was connecting the dots...

As regular readers of this blog likely know, for some time now, I’ve been in search of (most unsuccessfully, I’m afraid) a 40- to 50-something (preferably someone born during Eisenhower's second term or the Kennedy administration), decent Jewish guy (single or divorced, with kids or without) for a meaningful long-term relationship. I'll spare you the details of my seemingly endless escapades in this endeavor, "lovingly" referred to by me as "The Schmuck Parade," but you can read about some of them here and here and here and here.

Although I don’t think I’m especially fussy with my “laundry list” of desirable qualities, thus far, even in this great city of more than eight million people, I can’t seem to find even one mensch who fits the bill as a potential partner for this happily divorced Jewish woman with no kids, manageable baggage and, I think, lots to offer the right guy. But, as a colleague of mine is fond of saying about various topics at hand, “It is what it is.” And so it is. Yet, I keep looking because ultimately I believe there is somebody out there for me -- somebody with whom I'll share an intellectual, emotional and physical conection -- but I just haven't bumped into him yet. And, while I certainly don't expect Mr. Right to be perfect (I'm not, by a longshot!), I do still hold out hope that someplace in this city (yes, even in the outer boroughs, Westchester or New Jersey) exists Mr. Right Enough for Me -- and that after some getting to know each other, the feeling will be mutual.

And, although I'm far, far from desperate (I'd rather be alone than with Mr. Wrong or even with Mr. So-So), I also believe that my already rich, full life would be even richer and fuller with someone special along for the ride. I am also of the mindset that while the pixels, bits and bytes of the internet are a fine option for some (yes, I've tried JDate, match.com, speed dating, and more recently some freebies including speeddate.com and plentyoffish.com, all to no avail), for others, a "fix-up" arranged by a real, live person is a far superior choice. Lastly, I believe that as with a job search, the more people you know who know that you're looking, the better off you'll be. Who knows which one of them might have a brother, a brother-in-law, a cousin, a nephew, a friend, a colleague or an uncle who's available and willing to invest an hour over coffee or a drink to explore the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we're right for each other?!

And so yet again, my Facebook friends, I turn to you. Help me out here?