One of my goals for 2013 is to update this blog 52 times. We'll see how I do.
This evening I sold a phone on Craigslist. I met the gentleman at a McDonald's and from there we drove over to a Verizon store so he could activate it. I told him on the phone I'd be the tall skinny guy at McDonald's, and he said "Cool, I'll be the short jealous black dude." Everybody's jealous of my height until they try to sit in my car.
He was a cool guy named Rashad. Mid-20s, engaged, and he'd just come from mentoring some troubled teenagers through his church. We had a good talk about various kinds of outreach, and then he leaned over and asked me a question I don't hear very often.
"This might be a weird question," he said, "but do I smell like weed?"
I'm not in the habit of visiting McDonald's to smell random strangers I meet on Craigslist, but I gave him a sniff. "A bit," I said.
"They put out their joints the moment I came into the room," he said. "I left a little bit earlier than I planned, because I felt like I was starting to get high just from the second-hand smoke. I was worried about getting pulled over; the cops would never believe I wasn't using pot."
"You're not carrying, and possession is nine-tenths of the law," I quipped. I was proud of that one.
We got to the Verizon store and activated the phone, small-talking the entire time. Rashad was buying the phone for a friend who would be in town for a week (funeral) but forgot his phone back in Texas. The store was relatively quiet; there were only a couple other people besides the sales team. Once the activation was complete, he put the phone on speaker, set it down on the counter next to his iPhone, and tried calling himself from it. While the phone was dialing, he started counting out the cash for me.
"Hello?" said someone on the other end of the phone.
"Sorry, wrong number!" he said, hanging up the phone. We all got a good laugh, and he stopped counting out the money again while he looked, puzzled, at the phone I'd just sold him.
"I forgot my number!" he finally and loudly exclaimed. "I'm telling you, man, it's that weed!"
Suddenly, the Verizon store got very, very quiet. I looked up and realized that everyone in the store is looking at me, holding the cash that a young African-American man is counting out to me.
The store manager walked over. "Sir, is there a problem?"
Everyone in the store watched me take the last of the cash from his hand. "No, I'm just leaving. Nice to meet you, Rashad."
As I walked to the door, I heard the salesman ask "Wait, don't you know each other?"
"No, just met him tonight," said my new friend, as the door closed behind me.
The manager stood by the door and watched me walk to my car, and was still watching me when I drove out of the parking lot. I've been home for an hour, though, and the po-po haven't knocked on my door, so I'm guessing he didn't get a plate.
One down, fifty-one to go.