When I was in high school, I had a crush on a boy named Geoff. Geoff was tall, and good looking, he had big, sort of spiky, sort of just-woke-up, dyed black hair, and wore black eyeliner and was an artist and listened to NIN and Tori Amos and he probably did drugs and do you see where I am going with this? I mean, really. It was destiny.
I did not figure as highly in his daily thoughts as he did in mine. In fact, I'm not sure I ever figured in his thoughts at all, ever, except for that one time on the last day of school when he said something like, "Hey, I don't remember your name, but bye," and I just about died of happiness.
It's not as if Geoff was my One and Only. I had a lot of crushes. But
when other crushes wore off, I found myself gravitating, always, back to Geoff.
He sometimes had a girlfriend, a girl whose name I don't remember, who was lean and cool and had crazy hair and paint-spattered jeans and probably did drugs, too. There was a photo of the two of them together in the school paper once, I don't remember why. I don't think there was a lot of journalistic intent behind it. In the photo, the two of them are standing next to each other, leaning against the side of a building, too cool to touch, or maybe just the tips of their fingers together, looking gorgeous and bored.
I saved it, of course. And I "laminated" it with packing tape. I drew a thermometer on it, like the ones for fundraisers, we are this close to our goal, and I labeled it The Geoff-o-Meter. I kept it in my wallet. The Geoff-o-Meter was a tool to measure attraction. I would look at the photo and quantify how sad it made me to see Geoff with her and not me. The inverse of that number, as a percentage, was the level of my attraction to whoever else I was dreaming about at the time.
(The Geoff-o-Meter breaks at zero. Because the inverse of 0/1 is 1/0, and oops! Crash.)
Even if I still had the Geoff-o-Meter, it wouldn't work these days. Some of the parts are worn past repair, and the manufacturer went out of business a long time ago. I tried to google him, but I couldn't find anything. It's too bad, because I could have sworn that someone I knew had heard of him, that he did go to art school, and had a job in design, but I might be mixing the story up with someone else.
And even if it worked, you just can't read too much into the results, because it broke for my abusive fiancee, so it doesn't really matter that an imaginary scale I made in high school is imaginarily broken again. But, you know, I was browsing through OK Cupid, because I do that, and there are new people, the kinds of profiles I like, and I didn't even bookmark them for later, just in case. I looked at all the possibilities I could have, all of them with their best side showing, without the hassle of real interactions that might possibly go wrong, a line of imaginary boyfriends, and I just didn't care.