Craigslist Confession

I’ve been trolling Craigslist like a freak.
Everyone says that some serious nesting instincts kick in in your third trimester. Yes. Affirmative. However, this mama has a little cash flow problem… no biggie, just a residual effect of the artist’s life, so what to do about satisfying the need to get ready for baby when you are on a budget of, well, non-existent: Craigslist.
I’ve been able to find some great bargains, but beyond that, meeting the people who sell baby things on Craigslist has been a really eye-opening experience. Without exception, every single person I’ve purchased from has thrown in extra stuff for free. You cynics out there are probably saying, yeah they just wanted to get rid of that junk and you were the sucker who took it, and yeah you might be entitled to that opinion, but I don’t know if you’d feel that way if you met them too.
Most recently, I’ve been trolling the lists for folks selling baby clothes. I have received a good stash of hand me downs, but quite honestly, I have no idea what to expect. All the recent moms I’ve spoken to have warned me of the following: 1) the onesies that go straight into the trash after serious diaper blowouts 2) the multiple changes throughout the day from spit-up, leaky diapers, etc. 3) the bleary-eyed middle of the night changes when you run out of clean onesies and find yourself doing laundry and, 4) the fact that your child will be growing at an impressive rate where it outgrows the clothes you have on a weekly basis. So my inner girl scout has gone on high alert and I figured I should prepare while I have the mobility (i.e. am not so large that I do not feel like traversing the city of Los Angeles in pursuit of my baby bargains.)
I’ve bought and sold on the CL and actually really enjoy the Craigslist experience: You have a destination in a neighborhood you may not normally or ever find yourself in. You meet someone who you wouldn’t normally or ever have any contact with in the isolating car-culture of Los Angeles. You have a lovely conversation and exchange goods and $ and everyone goes home happy.
Today I drove to a destination in the South Bay in pursuit of newborn clothes. As per usual, I showed up outside the seller’s home, in this case an apartment building, not in the best part of town, and waited for her to emerge with my goods. We had communicated purely via text and she had referred to herself as “the girl” selling clothes and I had assumed it was the usual generic adjectival use of the noun in reference to anyone below 40 of the female sex. Well, my girl emerged and she was literally that: someone no more than 18 or 19, if that. She apologized that all her wares were in fact newborn clothing and said she had thrown in a few more items to make up for that. In my sheepish self-conscious state, I handed her the agreed upon fee and stumbled back to my car. She asked if I needed diapers as her son had just outgrown a few sizes and was selling some unused boxes, but I muttered something to the effect of “Thanks, but I’m alright” while I fought the urge to buy more things from her or simply hand over my money with a “Take this you probably need it more than I do!”
Who am I to complain about money? I couldn’t stop thinking about my nameless Craigslist mama and how much I wanted to help her.
I’ve been riddled with guilt this year for 1) not having earned very much that didn’t involve an unemployment check and 2) being caught in the ‘limited’ category that pregnancy puts you in. You see ‘category’ is this actor term to describe how you are going to be cast as.  Eg. Hot Leading Man,  Pretty Ingenue, Funny Young Asian Woman… Pregnant Lady.  I haven’t stopped ‘working,’ but actual employment has been challenging. And so I fight every day with the ego-blowing, humbling challenge also known as a ‘slow’ year. I have a FUCKING MASTER’s DEGREE. I work my FUCKING ASS OFF. WHAT THE FUCK.
I got home and unpacked, sorting my new-bought loot and found a receipt at the bottom of the bag confirming my suspicions: a paper-trail for WIC purchased formula.
She and I have a lot in common: new/ soon-to-be moms getting help from the government. I suppose that makes both of us the freeloaders that certain politicians find so insulting to their vision of America. Maybe they should buy a few things off of Craigslist and meet us.


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