Back in the day, when I was a student teacher, I had to fill in a survey. One of the questions was "What concerns you most at this point in time?" Had a brief think. World peace? Poverty? Infant mortality in third world countries? No. Whether to get my hair cut or not. At the time I wrote this trite response I knew what it said about me: vacuous; self-absorbed; typical Baby Boomer. But hang about. My hair was seriously Brethren long and it's hard to make a decision like that. What if it looked shit short? (It didn't, but I grew it back anyway.)
All of the above is by way of an explanation for the empty-headed musings that are to follow. I concede that there are all sorts of serious issues worth my contemplation but I choose to dwell on domestic minutiae. Crap really, but it passes the time.
So. I bought a reasonably expensive washing machine a couple of years ago. Did my research, courtesy of Choice magazine. Won't make that mistake again. This $1200 white monster, this 'top loader with front loader action!!' that we could barely fit through the laundry door, entangled and twisted my washing to such a degree that it took me half an hour to unravel everything before I could hang it on the line. To add further joy, it covered everything in chalky lint. I swear that machine grinned at me as its digital read-out told me to balance my load or put it through its clean cycle. Became a bit obsessed with this problematic machine. Rang the customer help line and got advice on all sorts of tricks I could try to optimise my washing pleasure. Nothing worked.
Given my workload had increased exponentially, decided to cut my losses and get another machine. And thus began my Ebay fun. It's illicitly thrilling trying to sell something one knows is a dud. Advertised it at $500 'still under warranty', because it was. Had lots of interest, but everyone wanted to know why I was selling it. So I became an 'empty-nester, downsizing'. Sounded legit and sort of was, except both kids were still living at home. Found a buyer who was happy to collect the machine and even ranked me as 'great to do business with!'. I'd like to think that whoever he bought the machine for found a way to minimise the just-been-through-with-a-tissue effect. But ultimately, who cares? Pig in a poke, but at least they got it for $700 less than I had twelve months earlier.
My second trepidatious foray into Ebay trading was to buy a packet of iPhone screen covers for the princely sum of about four dollars. You'd think I was committing to a Winnebago given the sweat I worked up hovering over the keyboard, deciding whether to press a key. Can't explain my irrational fear. Suppose it could have been something to do with my own duplicitous dealing in white goods. My little packet of six covers arrived promptly and in good order. It's not the seller's fault that I can never get all the air-bubbles out.
My next Ebay moment came about as a result of my Cinderella syndrome. I can't resist certain shoes. They call to me through the window. In the shop, they looked great on and they felt, well, tolerable. Convinced myself I must have them and isn't that what credit's for?
So here's me, on my second wear of my 'gorgeous black leather and patent flat lace-ups; Wittner Cosmic Size 39' - still have my vague copy-writing skills - whimpering in pain as I'm cycling home from work. The problem was the stitching line on the right shoe sat directly on a pressure point on my foot. On my second hill the pain was so excruciating that despite the cold and risk of detritus on the footpath, I removed the offending shoe and clomped, up and down, one shoe on, one off, all the way home.
And like the washing machine before them, those shoes began to mock me for wanting so desperately to go to the ball. Offered them gratis to several people, but no takers. Suppose my slim footed niece, who politely declined, didn't want to look menopausal in her old aunt's shoes. Couldn't bring myself to drop them off at Savers, given they'd cost me $130 and were barely worn. So I tried to auction them off on Ebay. As if. Clearly there's a method to selling on Ebay but whatever it is, I haven't managed it yet. Could probably do a course, or something, but I fear that would eliminate the idiotic thrill of the potential sale.
The starting price for the shoes 'that sadly don't quite fit' was $19.99. (Tried to elicit sympathy to lure a buyer.) Suddenly (be still my beating heart) I had one bidder and one watcher. I started barracking for the bidder, genuinely wanting whoever it was to get a bargain. Felt some sort of vicarious excitement. Don't think that's how it's supposed to work. As it happened $19.99 was the ending price as well. The lucky winner, who'd spotted my shoes among the gazillions on offer, agreed to pay the sum, plus about five dollars postage and handling. Unfortunately, after I'd queued for a good fifteen minutes in the post office I had to pay eight dollars. Note to self: weigh the shoes at the post office next time before you try to sell them.
Hope the successful bidder a. isn't a second-hand dealer; and b. hasn't got a fat right foot. .