Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chair Man Of The Bored

On craigslist, there are pitchers, and there are catchers.

Wait … let me start over … let's just go with "buyers" and "sellers." I mean, I think there are “pitchers” and “catchers” on craigslist, but in all honesty, I think this is an instance where the saying “ignorance is bliss” really holds true, and I try not to venture into certain subdirectories of the website, lest both my ignorance and my bliss be torn from me like duct tape by a dominatrix (a service, I’ve heard, that is available on craigslist … sweet sufferin’ safewords, I’m growing less blissful with every click of the mouse!).

Anyway, I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of craigslist, and have found multitudes of fantastic bargains there (my offers of marriage every time a trailer home comes up in the “free” section remain unaccepted; it’s almost as if she doesn’t realize the sincerity with which I ask … as if she can’t picture me typing the email, as I do, on bended knee). However, all of my experiences, all of my transactions, have been from the purchasing end (much like my forays into the world of prostitution). Never before had I attempted to sell or give something away there, but damnit, I had a chair that had to go, and I wasn’t going to let my apprehension stop me! Not this time! No sir!

The chair itself was this oversize bamboo thingy that was just too big for Casa de Acorn, so I thought I’d give it away. I took a picture of it, and excitedly transferred the image to my computer. My hands were trembling as I pushed the “Post” button, and I giggled nervously with each step completed. I was posting my ad just prior to leaving for work, so I knew that I wouldn’t know the magnitude of the response until I arrived home in the afternoon. Nine hours of nail-biting, wondering if “Big Ole Comfy Chair” was a catchy enough title to attract any interest. What if I simply wasn’t an adequate wordsmith for the free-stuff-notice genre?

It turned out my worries were for naught, because upon opening my email, I found 140 messages waiting. I felt like Sally Field at the Oscars. “You like my chair!” I sobbed. “You really like my chair!”

I wish I could say that this story ended on such an emotional peak. I called the person who responded first, thinking that the fairest approach. Sure enough, he wanted it, and we arranged a time for him to stop by and pick it up. Oh, would that I had simply deleted the other messages. My heartstrings would remain even now unpulled, had I not succumbed to the temptation of glancing at the inquiries of the unfortunate chair-seekers whose quests remain unfulfilled.

“My wife and I just had twins …”

“My husband lost his job, and we just moved here, and we don’t have any furniture …”

“I’m a single mom trying to get a new home set up …”

“My mother had a chair just like this, and seeing the picture brought back so many memories …”

“Dude, I could totally bake for, like, days in that chair.”

I’m not quite sure why I’m writing this. Maybe I’m just overwhelmed by being reminded of all the heartwrenching stories that everyone around us has – friends, acquaintances, strangers – stories that are unique to each, but that in some way ... if not forgotten, if not ignored ... make us all a little more like family, and that ignorance of the stories of others is not bliss, but rather, a curse, often self-cast, that makes us a little less human.

More likely, though, is that I’m just bored at work.


Steve G. said...

One of my friends initially donated a bunch of stuff when she moved on Craigslist, but eventually, the guilt and anger overwhelmed her. Like people were bitching her out when she politely responded that she didn't have the item anymore :/ Like your experience suggests, there are a LOT of people in bad situations out there who need free stuff of any quality.

The Dead Acorn said...

I didn't get any of the anger, and there's no rational reason to feel guilt, but it just kind of felt like "wow, I wish I could do something." Of course, there is stuff to do, and maybe I will ... easier for me to tell myself I will than actually follow through, though.

The Guitarman said...

Dude, Craigslist is AWESOME. Everytime I have posted something on there, it was out of my house within 2 hours. Filing cabinet, drum set, old TV, whatever.