I admit it. I am a Craigslist addict. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?
It started back in April while I was still at college. My friend Ashley and I began scheming to find an apartment to share in Cincy for the summer, dreading living under parental control after a year of complete freedom in college.
Before class, I began checking the “apartments” listings all over Cincinnati, constantly searching for a cheaper, cooler, better place to rent.
That lasted for a while. As the school year came to a close, I started thinking about how much I needed to find a summer job / make money before heading back to Ohio.
So my addiction magnified.
Almost every day, I checked the job postings. Before I knew it, I found myself skimming stuff like the “manufacturing” and “systems/network” job postings, even though I fully knew I a) lacked any smidgeon of qualification b) had absolutely no interest in working in a peanut processing plant c) had no clue what the hell systems/network even meant.
Then came the [ETC] category. One of my personal favorites. I started looking here when my job search was failing and I realized how desperate I was for money. The [ETC] listings contain every odd job you could dream up. Fluent in Thai? Want to iron shirts for cash? Mow lawns? Teach tantra? Somebody wants to pay you.
I couldn’t help myself—I kept checking the [ETC] listings to see if I qualified to participate in a dish soap research study or maybe a coffee drinker focus group.
Then came the best part. The missed connections. I can’t even remember how I wandered over to the personals sections. Curiosity is the only reasonable explanation.
Previously, my primary sources of internet humor were textsfromlastnight.com and fmylife.com. But the missed connections were better because they were never really intended to be funny in the first place. Call me a cynic, but it seems like a bit more than wishful thinking to hope that that sexy Wal-mart cashier was checking you out, too, and wandered over to Craigslist just hoping you’d confess your longing in poetic prose. Kind of like this one: “We exchanged eye contact that was fraught with attraction, anxiety, curiosity, longing, despair, hopelessness, hopefulness, an urge to say hi and an urge to say "stop looking at me.’”
Or maybe this one: “’Oh Starbucks barista girl at the 4th and Vine location... how in love am I with you? Let me count the ways… ‘Chocolate frappacino’ you gently said as you slammed the cup to the counter without even looking up... I imagine cartoon hearts must have shot out of my spine and into the air.”
If the missed connections section of Craigslist has taught me anything, I’ve learned that there are a whole slew of romance novelists in Cincinnati just waiting to be discovered. People are so optimistic; they take time to write these postings just hoping it will be read in time for them to reignite that flame kindled in a parking lot, coffee shop, whatever.
I am fully aware of how incredibly dorky/pathetic it is that I have wasted so much time on Craigslist. But I don’t care. Reading the classifieds is a great source for procrastination, humor and insight into the genuine hopes/dreams/hallucinations of people all over the ‘Nati.
Go check out Craigslist. Just not the creepy sections. Who knows, maybe you really did catch the eye of that super cute waiter/librarian/barista. Or maybe you can make a quick $50 for participating in a left-handed research study. It’s all gold.