This week’s installment of the great renovation saga of 2012 (and 13, and 14…) focuses on the Magic 8-Ball that is Craigslist. First, I’d like to point out that Craigslist is a dot org. This should have been a red flag to me, but if I had an inkling, I ignored it. Dot orgs are the wackiest of all websites. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples:
Ghosts.org, which is headlined, Obiwan’s UFO-Free Paranormal Page
Termlifeinsurance.org, which at first doesn’t seem odd, until you click into it and realize it’s actually a page devoted to the World’s Strongest and Strangest Beers, not to life insurance, as the URL would suggest.
And finally there is:
AirCrap.org, which purportedly “Monitors the Planned Poisoning of Humanity”
I rest my case.
But what does this have to do with a house remodel? Well, kids, if you ever find yourself on the business end of a demolition project, chances are you will turn to Craigslist to both sell things you wish to demolish and to enlist the services of people who can help haul things away. Sometimes the people who answer you ads are sane. Most of the time, however, they are not. *Especially* if you are utilizing the special section of Craigslist marked “free stuff.” The second you attempt to give something away for free, you become a rare earth magnet designed solely to attract the nutjobs of the world.
I placed an ad that read:
Up for grabs: 520 square feet of pine hardwood flooring in very good condition (installed about 4 years ago). It’s yours free, but you’ll have to come remove it from the subfloor, so bring a crew.
I also included two images of said flooring. The first text message came in less than a minute after I’d published the ad. The eager beaver texter wrote:
“Plz seend imgs of the floorz. Plz sho the edgis and tell me the rite tools to pack so I can tace them out of your hom and if I wont the floorz I will come to be tree in 2 daze time.”
I felt that the two images I included in the posting were sufficient and also I was afraid if I let this person come into my house to remove the floors and they spoke anything like they wrote, my ears would be scarred for life in addition to my eyes, which were ruined the moment I saw the text.
Several more emails/texts/calls came through until I found someone I deemed capable of removing the floors without causing me or my subfloor too much anguish. We agreed upon a time, and then the most common thing ever to go awry on Craigslist occurred- they didn’t show up. Nor did they call. Suddenly their phone number was disconnected as well, so I am forced to believe they were abducted by one of the non-paranormal Ghosts chronicled on the above-mentioned website, ghosts.org.
I then chose a runner-up, if you will, to come and collect all that lustrous pine flooring. I texted:
“The other people to whom I originally promised the floors did not show up- would you like them? Can you come tomorrow to remove them?”
To which they replied:
“For religion I could not do it o suday so can you deliver them to me?”
Which I deduced to mean that they belong to some sort of religion I have never heard of that allows them to text message but not to do manual labor, seemingly only on Suday which is more than likely Sunday. The religion does not prevent them from ordering me to do manual labor for them, however. Naturally I would be happy to spend my day heaving up hardwoods in order to hand-carry them to someone who for “religion” reasons probably wishes heathens like me would disappear from the planet faster than Tom Cruise’ second marriage.
As of now, the hardwoods are still in place. I’m kind of afraid to shake the Magic 8-Ball again, for fear of conjuring an even crazier Craigslister.
And then there were the people who came to pick up our free furnace. They phoned to tell me they’d be there as soon as they finished sanding a rocking chair. I am not sure why I needed to know this, but Craigslisters notoriously enjoy volunteering extraneous information.
They met my husband at the property. He helped them load the furnace into their truck, and they began to look around. They decided they needed our water heater, an oil tank, and several pieces of our copper siding. My husband told them those items were being used and politely turned them away. Not willing to take “no” for an answer, they called me. They informed me that “some construction worker named Jonas” (my husband) told them they couldn’t take several of the components associated with the heater and that I needed to speak with him and tell him they could take what they wanted.
Meanwhile I got a text from Jonas explaining the actual situation, so I told them to defer to the “construction worker” and take whatever his lowly ass would allow them to take, no more. They persisted, calling me no fewer than 20 additional times, before he was able to boot them off the property. They left many voicemails, and in the beginning they referred to me as “Linda,” but after about message five, they started calling me “Joshua” for no reason I can deduce.
But the real coup de grace came with the negotiation over a commercial refrigerator/freezer I had listed for $400. These units typically sell for quite a bit more, but we need everything out of the house so I priced it to sell quickly. Right away, I got an email from a Baptist minister named Craig Lester. If that isn’t a fondler’s name, I don’t know what is. He queried:
“I was wondering if you would be willing to donate your fridge and we can give you a tax deduction form. Please consider and let me know.”
I am happy to help out a good person in need, so I wrote back:
“I will consider it based on your answers to the following questions, a. what is your (and your church’s) stance on gay marriage, and b. how do you feel about the Beastie Boys?”
Those questions are my qualifiers for determining a person’s inherent goodness. I did not hear back from Homeboy Lester for several hours, and I hoped that he was seriously contemplating his response. It turns out he was probably just busy molesting the innocent serving gruel with a side of brimstone to the less fortunate, because when he did write back, it was brief:
“The biblical one – that homosexuality is a sin, therefore “gay marriage” is a non-issue.”
Despite my intellectual understanding that most zealots are clearly bigoted in their ways when it comes to human rights, I was nevertheless saddened to learn that Lester, a man of godly power in the community of Tenino, WA where he resides over his parishioners, would so summarily dismiss the rights of my friends to wed who they wish.
Adding abrasion to the injury is the fact that he decided to ignore the Beastie Boys part of the question entirely, thus proving his reading comprehension skills to be lacking. This forces me to wonder why anyone would trust him to properly interpret antiquated bible nursery rhymes.
So Lester is not a good person and therefore does not win himself a fridge on my Craigslist rendition of the Price is Right. But surely there is a teaching moment in all this. What would you do if you were me? I need to get back to Lester somehow, what should I say?
I’m convinced there is a drinking game to be made of Craigslist encounters. If you want to get in on helping me define the rules, let me know. I think if we could make millions off it if we packaged it with the Craigslist app and sold it with an unlimited supply of Four Loko. You in?
*It’s come to my attention that many of you may have Craigslist stories of your own. By all means, share them below in the comments.