more craigslist transactions.

today, i worked full-time for craigslist. it started when denise didn't actually flake on me. when she didn't call at 11:30 a.m., i expected our deal was dead, but i called her anyway. she was at the airport. "i'm at the sac airport now," she said. i gave her directions to my house. it turned out, though, that i-5 was still being worked on, so she was forced off the freeway, and got lost in downtown. i gave her directions again. finally, around noon, she showed up.

"where are you from?" i asked her. "i'm from alaska." "oh. what do you do there?" "i do tour guides for hikes and stuff." "that sounds cool," i said. "i like it." inside the hot garage, she looked at my bicycle. "you mind if i take the front wheel off?" "no," i said, "not at all." "is it a quick release? yeah, it looks like a quick release." "oh yeah," i said, obviously not knowing what that meant. i asked if she needed any tools and motioned towards my dad's toolbox. "no," she said, "here, i'll show you." and with that, denise pulled on a small silver lever, and unscrewed the front wheel of my bicycle. i felt like an ignorant fool. but at least i learned something.

when we went to her truck, two guys and a girl waited by the passenger door. "these are all my craigslisters," she said, then quickly added, "craigslist party! woo-hoo!" she opened up the backdoor of her truck, and it was practically overflowing with bags, bicycle parts, boxes, and other miscellaneous stuff. "where are you guys going?" i asked. the girl said she was going up to seattle. the guys said they were going to vancouver. i asked the asian guy where he was from. "san francisco," he said. "cool," i said. they asked me why i needed my bike shipped. "i'm going to seattle, but i'm gonna fly there," i said. "for good?" the asian guy asked me. "i hope so," i said. he stretched out his arms, looked at the smoke-filled sky, then said, "come on. you want to leave this?"

denise pulled out her empty water bottle and asked, "could we have some water?" "yes," i told her. the others asked if they could have water, too. i obliged. while this might have irritated most others, i was perfectly happy to help. i wanted these people to be my friends. i wanted them to take me wherever they were going, and i wanted to do whatever it was they were going to do in vancouver. "i have to go potty," the girl said. "sure," i said, and i lead the whole group into my parents' air-conditioned home. "james is gonna feed us!" denise said, then she added, "james, do you have cable?" the three of them stood in the hallway, while the other girl used the bathroom, and i filled up their water bottles. i put ice in the big nalgenes, since denise requested that i do so.

one of the boys spoke up. "we're really just stalling so we can stand here in your air-conditioned house." "no problem," i said. i filled up their bottles, and i wanted to do more for them. i wanted to feed them, and ride bikes, and start a traveling hippie vegan commune. it reminded me of the david sedaris story where he meets that poor panhandler girl, and so he takes up panhandling, too. i will beg for change. i will be a busker with my untrained voice. i will go places just for the sake of going and going and going. "can i soak my bandana in some cold water?" the guy asked me. "go for it," i said. afterward, they thanked me, and then they headed out the door. as the girl put on her slippers, she said, "maybe i will see you in seattle." "yeah," i said, knowing that she probably wouldn't. did she not know how big that city actually is?

my cousin and i headed to dimple to sell the rest of my cds. before doing so, he shook his head. "i can't believe you're doing this," he said. "i was looking at some of them. you're selling sigur ros?" "yeah," i said, "everything." "i don't want to think about it," he said. it suddenly occurred to me that i should've offered them some discs to listen to on their long drive. oh well. maybe i will look up denise and meagan's dad in alaska, and have my own great alaskan adventure, if there is such a thing.

my cousin and i decided we needed to get passports. there has been a lot of talk in our family about visiting the philippines, and i decided that i need to go at some point. mostly because our aunt, ate, works for philippine airlines, and she can easily get any of us a roundtrip ticket for $500. even if i don't end up going, i will do peace corps, or jet, or geovisions in paris, or see tiffany in chile. i need to do something. because if i don't, i will sit here, and i will suffocate. literally.

passports are expensive. having not left the country in over fourteen years, my passport was long expired, and i was shocked to discover that it cost $100 for a new one. but it is good for a whole decade, so essentially, it's like paying $10 a year for the opportunity to leave the greatest country in the world. there is also the option to get a passport card rather than a book, but the card can only get you to closer places like canada, mexico, and bermuda. i need a book.

today, i also sold my ipod shuffle ($10) to a black woman at the jamba juice in howe bout arden. and then morgan stopped by my house and picked up a bike rack ($30) that i never used, one i purchased on craigslist last week for $20. that's a $10 profit! my cousin said, "man. you majored in the wrong thing. you should've majored in business...with a minor in craigslist." he was right. well, there's always the possibility of getting an mba.

but i'm 25. what's the rush. school, no school, work, no work. does it really matter? why was i so set on working right away and finding a career? most people hate their careers. maybe it's my calling to be an expatriate, a lifelong volunteer. maybe i'll start my own co-op house in some small town with friends with lots of time on their hands, and anyone else who's down. why get caught up in any one thing? it's all just one big racket, anyway. a giant fucking headache. make art, travel, sing songs and hitch ride with strangers. it won't all be good - you'll definitely hit some bumps along the way - but hopefully, it will all be worth it. it's certainly better than giving in.


Naomi said...

I'm all about the last paragraph. Ross wants to start co-op too, but I think he has more of a far reaching, socialist agenda. I'm more about a house where cool people and friends can live or crash and do cool stuff. A refuge from the man. A 4 degrees of separation hostel, if you will.

Craigslist is great. My little sister's boyfriend has the craigslist midas touch. That boy can sell anything. We had a couch we were going to throw out on the curb for free, it was like 20 years old, pretty hideous upholstery and falling apart. He put on craigslist for $50 and got three calls in the first hour. The couple who bought it didn't have a truck, so he got another $20 to deliver it. Maybe you and him could start a resale business, pick stuff up for free on Freecycle, or shit you see on the curb, and then resell it on craigslist.
Meanwhile, keep working on Americorps reunion, now that two members will be in the same old home city we can at least agree on a destination.

ms.meggie said...

10 dollars per year.

_ said...

Tiffany said...

Come live in Patagonia with me! Happy gringo times...we can drink tea in the cold and feel overwhelmed by the Andes. Oh, and did I mention the women are SO HOT?!