Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm smitten...

...with Craigslist. This is a story of having joy in a simple pleasure, let me warn you.

Ok, background story:

For a few years in the back of my mind I've been wanting a paper shredder. Every few months I'd be in Staples or Office Depot and I'd browse for one. There'd be little boxes of shredded paper in front of each shredder down the aisle, showing what each could do. As the size of the shards of paper in each box got smaller, the price of the accompanying shredder got higher, promising more and more security against those terrible identity thieves. I could never fathom spending $40 to $100 on something that I could do with scissors and lots of patience. Oh, what Americans will pay for out of fear... So for a while I've been sneaking bank statements and old bill notices in to work and stuffing them into the "secure" shred boxes, which would be emptied every month by a shady looking character working for a company that only goes around to hospitals to collect things to shred. They probably don't care that Joe Schmo has bipolar disorder, but I didn't trust them with my social security number and credit card information. Needless to say, I wanted to buy a shredder for my own.

So today while I was at work on a Sunday (long story) a light bulb appeared and I went on craiglist and typed "shredder" into the search column. This was at about 10:30am in Rocville. Two therapy sessions, the Sugarloaf Craft Festival, JoAnn's, and a car and metro ride later at 7:00pm, I was in Dupont Circle motioning to a concierge through a glass door. This is another story in itself. I had tried the door which was locked of course. He motioned to the side where one would hold a key card up to. I motioned, "nevermind" and began texting the seller but he came out anyway to ask what I needed. This is when it became interesting. He asked why I was there. I told him I was buying a shredder from someone who lives in the building; that I had just texted her and she would be coming down shortly. Then he stared at me, as if waiting for me to tell him the truth. What did he want me to say? Oh, I have chinese food takeout menus stuffed into my peacoat. I'm gonna sneak in and put them at every door. I'm doing a drug deal in the basement laundry room. Damn, you caught me. No, instead, I repeated my story a few times more. He continued to look at me as if I were a freakin liar. Then somehow we transitioned to talking about the apartment buliding. Why don't you rent here? he asked. Because I have a lease. Oh, one does that anymore. During our small talk he seemed to realize that I wasn't there as a criminal, as I stared at the elevator doors inside waiting for a woman to exit with a paper shredder in her hands. Finally a girl appeared with a large Sephora bag and clothing steamer, which I found out later she was selling to someone who had just pulled up.

I was tempted to say, See! see! But I'm not that caddy. He was a nice guy just trying to protect the building and who probably just didn't understand the art of buying on craigslist. As I sat down on a bench in the warm underground metro station waiting for my train I pulled out the shredder to admire it. It shreds paper forwards and backwards and has a letter opener and pencil sharpener as well. A good use of any extra voltage, or whatever it's called (I'm no electrical engineer). I looked at the paper shards that she had left in the teeth and tried to figure out what she had shredded. One looked like a check but the rest looked like text printed in a Word document. Hmm...I wonder what she has to hide.

I put it away then and listened to a violinist play a montage of Christmas songs. It was beautiful and after Silent Night I decided that I wanted to take up the violin again. The last time I held one was in the fourth grade. I played for a few months before my mother decided that I sounded like a dying cat and made me stop. Now I'm an adult. I have money to buy a violin and How to Play the Violin for Dummies. Hmm... Maybe I'll look for one on craigslist.

So the moral of the story...I spent years looking for a brand new shredder and never wanted to dish out the money for it, and then in a few hours I had a one for $10 (originally $40). And what made me really feel good is that I am being green by not buying a new one but taking one off someone else's hands. (almost) Everybody wins.

Sorry that this post had nothing to do with knitting...well almost nothing. I did work on wrist warmers as a Christmas present for my cousin Danielle on the metro ride:
Happy knitting!