The call came in just after 8pm on a Saturday night. Despite not recognizing the number, I took the call — which is a 50/50 proposition these days, based entirely on mood and seemingly nothing else.
The man on the other end of the call asked if my Garmin GPS was still available. “Yessir, it absolutely is. When do you wanna see it,” was my reply. He first proposed Sunday morning. I’m very noncommittal on Sunday mornings and proposed Sunday afternoon, to which he asked if it was too late to meet tonight.
I perked up and willingly agreed it wasn’t too late to meet tonight — despite a barrage of college football games and even the World Series on TV to hold my attention. You see, the thrill of a sell will forever hold a powerful spell on a salesman.
I don’t know how many transactions I’ve made on Craigslist (stylized as craigslist). It’s well in the hundreds. I’ve sold more than I’ve bought and on any given week, I’m known to have at least one posting out there.
I first discovered it in 2004 while living in Anchorage, AK and working in a restaurant. I quickly began a love affair with the cars+trucks for sale category. I loved browsing the cheap cars and looking for gems. I even began modestly buying and selling cars just for fun and to make a few dollars. I recall having four cars in my driveway at one point — none worth more than three grand.
The complete randomness of the cast of characters you meet on craigslist is something I always look forward to. Such a wide range. And every last one of them has a story, but not all are willing to share.
The guy buying my GPS on Saturday night in a well-lit bank parking lot off Interstate 30 in Dallas had a lot to share.
I arrived first and sat in my car clearing my travel history and reseting the home destination. He showed up less than five minutes later and parked next to me two spots over.
We both got out and met in the handicapped spot that separated us. I approached and introduced myself and offered my hand for him to shake. I wasn’t aware nor was I prepared for there to be a second part to the handshake, so it was a bit of an awkward greeting. (I only know how to shake the traditional way).
With both of our cars left idling, I quickly handed over the GPS for him to inspect and began to point out its features and prove to him that it did work. He was disinterested and ready to pay my asking price.
Then we stood there and talked. I don’t even know how it started. It was some variation of an open-ended question to which I can’t even remember asking.
The conversation began with jobs and industry and quickly turned to politics and the economy. Then it went to Montana and west Texas. Then to high school football which morphed into college and ultimately the NFL and the Cowboys. All the while, our vehicles sat there burning gas simultaneously.
All told, we stood there for 50 minutes just talking while probably close to a thousand cars whizzed by us on the interstate. We soon parted ways, shaking hands again and this time I nailed the second half of the handshake.
Because I Like to Read
It was 10 years ago this week that Tony Romo became the starter for the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s the oral history of it unfolding.
A story that’s retold every time the Cowboys are relevant: America’s Team: How the Dallas Cowboys became a household name
On sportswriting and alcoholism, this was one I started and just had to finish: The Writer Who Was Too Strong to Live