Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Craigslist Parade of No-Shows

My final teeth brushing at my old apartment had to be recorded for posterity.
Well where the hell have I been?

I was on a stealth mission to Los Angeles to clear out my apartment.  

Exsqueeze me? I baking powder? Why didn't you CALL ME?


When I left for my nomadic journey back in February 2011, I left with one suitcase, but I kept my apartment in Santa Monica just in case I freaked out and came crawling back, begging for my old life. Basically, I built a take-back into my travel plans. It helped me feel brave enough to go.

Turns out, I won't be needing that take-back. So I returned to LA for two weeks to move out. Move to where? Announcement coming on December 27th. Stay tuned. 

When I arrived in Los Angeles to clean out my apartment, I thought I'd go to yoga every day, see a bazillion friends, and sell my furniture lickity split.

No. No. And no.

Craigslist, while an amazingly wonderful site to post items for sale, attracts lame ducks that don't show up to purchase the items they agreed to buy. At first this was annoying, but after awhile I learned to roll with it. We can't get mad at what we can't control. Who knows why people didn't show up. I tried not to be judgmental about it. And by the end I was even laughing about it. I'd just repost the listing, see if anyone else came along and try not to feel disillusioned with humanity.

But there were blessings in this parade of no-shows. Because the unraveling of my apartment took me much, much longer than I had originally anticipated, I had to simplify my visits with friends. Historically, I've made too many plans, ran around like a crazy person trying to fit everything in and consequently overwhelm myself and didn't enjoy a thing.

This is just the kind of thing about self that annoys self. 

But the Craiglist Parade of No-Shows had other plans for me. Sweet, wonderful, almost miraculous moments unraveled all around me.
I met one woman who bought my fireplace (after three no-shows from others). When she saw it, she asked me if I knew about the law of attraction. I could recite the film The Secret. She pulled out a print out of the fireplace she wanted. It was exactly like my fireplace. She almost bawled she was so happy. 
Finding spirit animals at West Elm.
Another woman showed up to buy my bed frame. I thanked her for showing up and vented about the No-Show Parade. She was the sweetest, kindest, almost pixie fairy of a girl. Then she said in a deep loud voice, "People are assholes" and laughed. Yikes.
Then there was Jennifer, who made me have fun when I could have just wallowed in Craigslist email misery. She was staying at my apartment with me. She'd wake up in the morning, look at me and say, "Let's sell some shit, then go to the Apple Store. We've got a date with Dakota." Dakota, our favorite Apple Store employee, would meet up with us after work at whatever random restaurant we were in. A random new friendship formed during a time of letting go of so much.
iFriends rock.

And four friends that I really, really wanted to see but thought I couldn't because they work all the time? They either quit their jobs, were laid off, on a break from travel, or their shifts were canceled. I was able to spend time with them. 

My time with friends turned out to be perfect. The ones that mattered tended to show up more often. The ones that didn't... well, somehow they were busy or stuck in traffic or whatever.

I used to bend over backwards to make friendships happen. When Craigslist forced me out of this habit, I had a better time with those I did see. And they happened to be around.

Lounging at Nordstrom with iFriends.

There was one friend I couldn't manage see because I was hauling furniture out of my apartment on the night before my flight. And another that I couldn't see but we'll meet up in another city next week. I also managed to burn a bridge on one fakey-fakey friendship. Why do we try so hard to please or avoid hurting someone we don't even like and who we know don't like us?

There is no room in life for friends that aren't awesome. 
Stopping by my favorite guitar shop for a guitar shipping box. Guitars are good friends, too.

As for Craigslist? I managed to sell off or give away everything in my apartment. I was even loading a mattress on a truck minutes before heading to the airport. And when I sat down on the plane, I collapsed into a puddle of fatigue and weepy gratitude for the friends I kept and also for those I left behind.

It's time to go. 


  1. You never fail to strike a chord in me. Thank you for writing this.

  2. I love this so much there aren't enough words. Our simple time in your crazy barren apartment might have been better than most of my Hawaii vacations. Why? You ask. Because you are real, real fun, a real girl and a really good friend and I'd rather sit in your shit apartment then on the beach any day of the week if I can laugh my guts out with you. This girl will pony up a ticket to meet in our next destination, see you there!

  3. Inspiring, as usual. :)
    Can't wait to hear what unfolds next.
    Oh, and are we still planning reunion paris april? Hope so!

  4. Oooh the exhaustion that comes with moving out of somewhere is overwhelming, but I love what it dredged up in you. Plus, you are an amazing toothbrusher.

  5. Funny how something like your Craig's List experience can present an opportunity. You're keen sense of observation rose to the occasion again!

  6. You are so very brave, Janice! I remember how much your fireplace meant to you when you first brought it home. How wonderful that it's still fulfilling its destiny of making dreams come true :) When I moved from LA to Vallejo I posted my awesome furniture to sell on Craig's List. No one wanted it so I had to give it to the Jewish Ladies thrift store on Pico. I literally cried when they took away my entertainment center -- my perfect-rustic-pine-custom-made-for-someone-else-that-I-purchased-on-Craigslist favorite piece of furniture. I couldn't take it with me and I had to give it away. I still miss it.

  7. I want an Apple store friend!

    I almost contacted you on FB when I saw that you were here. But seeing you in LA wouldn't be near as much fun as meeting up with you in Europe again, so I guess I'll just have to settle for that instead. ;)

    Looking forward to hearing about your next set of evil plans!

  8. I'll bet that friend you couldn't meet with the night before you left was really sad about it. But I'm sure they understood. So did the restaurant.

  9. Very well written...good food for thought...I need to remember this more often...hope you will be home for the holidays...

  10. geez, the 27th eh? I've been so out of the loop. hmmmm, i'm going to msg you. coffee??


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