Thursday, December 27, 2007

Step 39.

After finalizing the purchase of The Biggest Mattress in All the Land, the final thing I had to do was arrange for the sale of The Incomparably Small Previously Owned Queen-Sized Mattress. I knew it wouldn’t be hard considering it was a top notch mattress and that unlike Brooke and I some people are still forced to suffer the indignity of a bed smaller than a mid-sized sedan.

I followed the Standardized Rules of Selling Items on Craigslist and sorted the responses to my ad in the following order: Women who wrote coherent emails, women who wrote semi-coherent emails, Men who wrote coherent emails, women who wrote incoherent emails, Men who wrote semi-coherent emails, Foreigners, Men who wrote incoherent emails. Then I began responding. It turns out that the holidays is a tough time to sell a mattress. (You don’t often hear on Christmas morning, “A used mattress! Just what I always wanted!”) I actually made it all the way down the list to “Foreigners,” which culminated in a series of very confusing emails concerning the problematic lack of a “bed holder,” which I assume is another more stupid way of saying “bed frame.”

Disheartened, I decided to take a few days, regroup and repost the ad. Thankfully, the second time around I got a hit in the first email from a nice sounding woman who used punctuation and capitalization and everything. We made an appointment for her to come by and take a look at the mattress one day after work.

On the appointed day, she called saying that she was held up in Manhattan on the Upper East Side purchasing a bed frame from another Craigslister – which I won’t judge, but personally I prefer all my bedding materials to come directly from the sweatshop machine operators hands to mine – so would it be alright if her husband came by to look at it instead? Sure, I thought. Why not. Coherent woman must be married to coherent man, right?

Not so. Half an hour later, a man who I can only describe as “Huh?” approached my front door. If he were more self-aware, he would be ironic, but no such luck; he is genuinely doofusy. He comes in and begins inspecting the mattress. I offer to lay it down in the living room so he can test it out. (Note that this is more for my entertainment than his benefit.) He accepts, and we labor to lay down the mattress in such a way that it avoids the trash can, the Christmas tree and the coffee table. Puppy immediately jumps onto the bed, of course, prompting Doofus to let out a concerned, “Oh no!” as though Puppy’s paws were made of knives and red wine. Brooke holds Puppy back and Doofus lays down. I immediately sit down and type on the computer to prevent from laughing as Doofus rolls around, commenting on the softness, at one point rolling over directly into a low-hanging tree branch.

He then gets up and calls his wife, who says that she is just now leaving Manhattan and wants to come by to see the mattress herself. Brooke immediately shoots me a look, and I decipher it perfectly.

Brooke: “Is Doofus going to stay here until she arrives from the Upper East side? That could take 40 minutes.”
Me: “I don’t know. Can we kick him out?”
Brooke: “I think we can.”
Me: “Let’s suggest the coffee place around the corner.”
Brooke: “OK. Want to fool around later?”
Me: “Yeah, that sounds fun.’
Brooke: “OK, cool.”

He gets off the phone and I immediately, perhaps too quickly, say, “Coffee! It’s good, right around the corner.” Thankfully, he obliges and as he leaves Brooke and I agree that we need to stop selling stuff on Craigslist.

45 minutes later, Doofus returns with his wife. She is very nice; so nice, in fact, that I wondered if maybe Doofus had experienced some sort of head trauma after they married, and she has been too kind to leave him, instead standing by his side hoping that he will one day wake up and be the sort of man she once knew him to be. The two of them lay down on the bed and Puppy looks at me like, “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?” After some crafty salesmanship on my part where I highlight the pros of the mattress (“It was so expensive, and everyone loves it”) and pressure them into feeling as though they would be uncool to not buy it, they say they will take it. The wife goes out to the waiting truck driver, leaving me and the husband alone to complete the always awkward money transaction.

The husband counts out a wad of cash and hands it over. I’m trying to act all humble about it, like, “Oh, this is so fortunate! I can’t wait to donate all this money to Darfur!” when Doofus asks me if I have a pen. I think this is odd, but of course he just handed me money so he can have a pen if he wants one. As I am retrieving it from the drawer, I try to figure out what he wants it for. Is he going to stab me with it and make off with the mattress AND the cash? Of all the ways I thought I might go, dying in a Craiglist transaction gone wrong ranks pretty low on my list. The only logical thing I can come up with is that he wants to write something down, like maybe a receipt? So as I hand him the pen I say, ‘Did you want a receipt?”

From across the room I see Brooke shoot me a puzzled look. Even Doofus stares at me confusedly. “A receipt?” he asks. “What good would that do?”

“Yeah, what good would a receipt do?” Brooke echoes, walking over to us now. I immediately realize the stupidity of what I have said, so naturally I try to cover it up with a lie. “Yeah, you know a written receipt. Someone once gave me one when I bought something off Craigslist. You know, just a piece of paper that showed that I paid him the cash and he gave me . . . the rug?”

Brooke is looking at me like she doesn’t even know who I am and Doofus seems even more confused. “But why?” he asks. (“WHY ARE YOU BUYING A USED MATTRESS?” I wanted to respond.) “Would the guy take a return?” Doofus and Brooke laugh at this. “No,” I proudly state, perfectly willing to accept the absurdity of the moment, “I guess he wouldn’t.” Happy to leave the conversation at that, Doofus then repeats, “So do you have a ten?” (Oh, a ten! Like change. Yeah, that seems a lot more plausible than a receipt.)

Just then the mover comes in, a real burly guy who seems bothered by the fact that he isn’t home watching the Spike channel. “Is this the mattress?” he asks. We all look at him. “Yeah, this one,” I assure him, pointing to the mattress on the floor in my living room, and officially remove myself from the situation.

Brooke and I close the door behind them spouting Good luck’s, as though luck had anything to do with it, and move to the front window to watch as Doofus yells at the mover for rubbing the mattress up against the dirty gate. Without taking her eye off the scene, she asks “Did you really get a receipt from someone off Craiglist?”

“Of course not. That would be ridiculous.”

The mover, fed up, puts his side of the mattress down on the wet ground. Doofus simultaneously yells and groans under the weight of trying to lift the mattress himself.

“Yeah. That would be ridiculous.”

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha. LOL funny. Two thumbs up.

December 27, 2007 at 4:08:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Jazzgoon said...

Oh Brendan. Always the voice of frivolity.

December 27, 2007 at 4:51:00 PM EST  
Blogger Airam said...

Oh the photo-op that never was.

December 27, 2007 at 5:00:00 PM EST  
Blogger Alexander said...

"Of all the ways I thought I might go, dieing in a Craiglist transaction gone wrong ranks pretty low on my list."

You meant dying right? Unless you were actually referring to being cut up in a million pieces by machinery.

December 27, 2007 at 5:29:00 PM EST  
Blogger k said...

Absolutely hysterical.

Also, glad you saw Once and loved it. Thought it was amazing. (And I will admit that the reason I saw it was because Dooce told me to. Am lame.)

Merry Christmas, btw. :)

December 27, 2007 at 6:20:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Lara said...

Oh, what I would do for a picture of the doofus testing out your mattress! This was hysterical.

December 28, 2007 at 9:35:00 AM EST  
Blogger kismetic said...

I don't understand why "Once" is such a good movie, although I did have one big long snotty catharsis beginning from when they sit down in the music shop to the very end, so I guess that's good for something. And the music is nigh perfect.

This is a really good story, Dan, gold star writing.

December 28, 2007 at 10:55:00 AM EST  
Blogger PMJG said...

I think that the phrase "as though Puppy’s paws were made of knives and red wine," is the best similie I have read all week.

December 28, 2007 at 11:45:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Meredith said...

did you ever find out why the guy needed a pen after all?

December 28, 2007 at 12:45:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i smiled all the way through reading this, but snorted coffee out my nose at Alexander's comment. Thanks everyone...and to all a good night.

December 28, 2007 at 1:15:00 PM EST  
Anonymous huh? said...

Is it just me or are the "foreigner" references over the line? The post was funny, but I'm surprised you want people reading it to know you're that racist.

December 28, 2007 at 1:36:00 PM EST  
Blogger DanjerusKurves said...

Thank you for distracting me just enough to delay killing one of my coworkers. Just what the executioner ordered!

p.s., coherent, woman, and foreigner here! Although potentially insane. Minus the "potentially" part.

December 28, 2007 at 2:46:00 PM EST  
Blogger Chris said...

Oh, my God, you're hysterical. Watch your back, Sedaris.

And maybe 'huh' needs to lighten up and go back to his country.

December 31, 2007 at 9:45:00 PM EST  

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