My parents got a new couch recently and my mom asked me to put their old couch up on Craigslist. Generally, I don’t like getting involved in other people’s problems, but I agreed because that woman birthed me and didn’t murder me during my middle school years when she really should have just put me out of my misery.
Under the free section on Craigslist, I posted the following ad:
“FREE BROWN COUCH. Leather couch, has a small tear on one cushion. Come pick it up.” I included a picture of said couch along with cross streets to my parent’s house. I figured I could then go back to living my life. I was wrong.
A little while later I checked my email to find an array of Arizona’s brightest shining stars wanting to play “Twenty Questions: Used Furniture Edition” with me.
Q: Why are you getting rid of it?
A: My parents got a new couch. They don’t need this one anymore. If you want it, you can come pick it up and it can be yours for free.
Q: How many people can fit on the couch?
A: 2-3 average-sized adults can comfortably sit on the couch. After that, you would just be pushing your luck. If you are very small or have inappropriate boundaries you can probably fit 4 or 5 people.
Q: Will it fit in my truck?
A: I don’t know. How big is your truck?
Q: Hi, I want the couch, but my cousin Hector is working in Glendale until 6. I think he would let me borrow his truck when he’s done. If not, maybe I could ask my neighbor Gene for a ride. He owes me a favor because I lent him my vacuum last month and he broke it.
A: Ok great, that is all very informative. Tell your cousin Hector or your neighbor Gene that the couch is sitting on the curb and they can just come pick it up.
Q: Do you have anything else for free? I don’t have a use for your torn couch, but what I really want is a bookshelf or a turntable.
A: I am only offering this free couch. It’s not even mine, it was my parents’ couch. I just got suckered into helping them get rid of it because I am the most reliable and under-employed of my siblings.
Q: I really want that couch, but I just moved here and I don’t really know anyone that could help me pick up the couch. What do you think I should I do?
A: You seem to be familiar with Craigslist. Why don’t you post an ad under Casual Encounters looking for a big, strong man for some No Strings Attached fun to meet you in Scottsdale outside my parent’s house to help move their busted couch into your new place? If things go accordingly, you guys can sit on the brown couch together afterwards and hold hands or whatever you need to do. If things don’t work out between you guys you can stretch out and have the whole couch to yourself while you watch Under Cover Boss and cry. Also, you can recline!
Q: Here is a long explanation of how I plan to use the couch. Please note that my email is more like a monologue or free write that you will likely give zero fucks about reading. I am just really lonely and you seemed like someone I could talk to. What are you doing later? If it’s ok, I’m gonna send you a picture of my dick.
A: I have no idea what I just read, but if you would like a free couch with a tear in the cushion you can come get it. And no dick pics, please. Thanks.
Q: I live extremely far away from where this free couch is located. Is there any chance you would deliver it to me?
A: Although a trip to Apache Junction is tempting, I can not fit my parents’ old couch in my Toyota Corolla. Thanks for understanding.
Q: Will you help me load the couch into my truck?
A: No, sorry, I will be out trying to live my life and responding to strangers’ email queries about this fucking couch.
Q: Is the couch in good condition? I know you posted a picture of it and said that one of the cushions is ripped, but I just want you to tell me that it is actually a perfect couch before I drive over there to get it.
A: Look at the picture, lady. I’m not gonna try to upsell you on the benefits of owning this couch. It has likely been farted into numerous times by my family members, myself included. I took a nap on the couch once and lost my earring somewhere in it. It’s a free fucking brown couch. You either want it or you don’t.
Q: I EMAILED YOU 12 MINUTES AGO ASKING SOME DUMB FUCKING QUESTION ABOUT YOUR COUCH IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, BUT YOU NEVER RESPONDED. I GUESS YOU DON’T CARE ENOUGH TO RESPOND. THANKS FOR NOTHING BITCH.
A: Sorry Partychick014, I’ve been busy responding to emails from all your cousins.
Finally, a man named David emailed me to say that he worked with needy families and the free brown couch would be a blessing to one of them. Thank God. I’ll be off the hook and some family in need will have a place to sit together. It’s a win-win. Here is a copy of the first message I sent him beginning Friday night around 9 pm.
Please note, that between 11 am and approximately 5 pm David did not respond to my messages of “hey, when you gonna get the couch?”. Meanwhile, the free brown couch sat on the curb outside my parents’ house baking in the sun, eagerly awaiting new butts to sit upon its couch face. David’s deadline was fast approaching and I was trying to get ready to go out. I was just about to text Priscilla that things were looking up for her and she was about to be the new owner of a free brown couch (!) when I heard back from David.
Up until this moment, I had been so focused on just convincing some stranger to pick up the couch and let me off the hook that David was not even a human to me yet, but now our interaction was personal. I knew a few things about him, like he helped needy people and his brother had just killed himself. He also really wanted that couch because, if you’ll notice in the second part of the message, he apologized to me. In fact, he said he was “so sorry“.
What is the proper social etiquette for when you get suckered into handling your parents’ Craigslist transactions, spend the day fielding questions from some of the dumbest people in Arizona and then a kind stranger inconveniences your Saturday by spending their time on the phone with the police after their brother kills himself?
I sat on my parents’ brand new couch, staring at my phone, unsure of how to proceed. I thought of how the story would sound when my mom came home to ask why the couch was still sitting outside on her curb. “You see mom, David is going through a really hard time. He was going to come get the couch, but then he found out that his brother had killed himself.” She would say, “That is terrible! Why did he do it?” And my dad would say “Wait, who is David??”
Feeling connected to David and concerned for his well-being, I texted him “I’m very sorry for your loss.” And I was. Can you imagine, you wake up one Saturday full of possibility and the unknown, thinking you’re gonna go pick up a free couch and then your brother kills himself? Crazy, man.
I stared at the phone again for a while. You just lost your brother, but your only hope is that the couch will still be there?
Not how you wished that you could just talk to your brother and ask him why?
Or how you’re beating yourself up for not thinking to invite him to come with you when you came to get my parents’ torn couch?
Or maybe if you had picked up the couch in the morning you would have been with him in the afternoon instead?
No, David just really hoped that the couch would still be there.
“Of course, David. The couch will be waiting outside for you whenever you can come get it.” I figured he’s probably gonna need a place to sit for a little bit while he gets his life together. Or maybe even recline.