[Estimated reading time: 2 minutes]

"Hey, did I tell you about this girl from Tacoma?"

"No. What were you doing in Tacoma?"


We looked at each-other for a moment, unsure who was more drunk.

"No, man, she's from Tacoma. I saw her profile on poke-cupid." He nodded along, finally following the conversation, and took a long sip of his beer. "Just popped up, gorgeous, likes climbing, at least six months at ninety-six percent, I think I'm in love!"

"You messaged her yet?"

"Not yet." Tom's eyebrows went up at that. "Want to see what the net reaction is."

"Well, don't take too long, think she just popped up on my radar," Tom said, holding up his phone with the girl's picture.

"Flip you for it?"

Sorry, too much jargon. Kids these days.

After the parallel link opened up there were a myriad of social changes. Entire countries disappeared overnight. The world launched all of its nuclear missiles on a day in April, only for empty shells to come back down. Being able to communicate with every parallel version of you suddenly presented some interesting discoveries.

I live in (P)New York City, 2016. That's the current year. Every year. I live in a version of New York City in 2016, and have for the last four years. I'm fascinated with the period and decided to make it my major. So here were are.

Although, as you've noticed, it's a strange version of NYC. For one, it has (P) in front of it. That's to differentiate it from the canonical, non-parallel NYC of 2016, the NYC that had not yet stumbled onto the existential terminator, the parallel link.

So here I am, in (P)NYC, having a beer with my friend Tom, and I'm telling him about a profile I saw on POK-Cupid. You pronounce it as "PO-kay-cupid".

POKC is similar to its non-P version, in that there are matches and you can search by specific preferences. The only difference is that the matches are not only given to you by an algorithm that correlates questions and answers. No. It also goes by how your parallel selves rated their dating experiences with their partners.

Somewhere out there versions of me dated the girl from Tacoma. They met in a random cafe, probably a mile from here but one that I'd never visited before. Millions of mes, dating millions of hers. Then they reported on POKC that the relationship was a good one, that it may be one that other parallels would want to look into.

The girl from Tacoma popped up on my radar right now, but my parallel selves have known her and dated her for anywhere from six months to four years (when I came to PNYC 2016). They have been reporting on the success of this relationship, but so have trillions of others, other versions of me who were dating girls from Redding or Phoenix or Manila. But I recently updated my profile and our preferences in this reality aligned.

So here I am, seeing her profile and recommendations from my parallels. We don't know each-other in this reality, not yet, but now I've heard about her, so might drop her a line.

That's the line of thinking that countless mes will be embarking on now. They will contact her, meet up at a night club or go for a run, will report back to POKC in a few days or a week. That'll give me an idea of what kind of date would be a good way to kick things off.

It's an existentialist's wet dream.

Tom and I flip for it. I win. Might message her next week.

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