Columns

Can I shop for worry beads on Craigslist? 2016.05.18

By COLLEEN LEDDY

I am a sucker for magnets. I love them in all forms (including the wonderful MagnaTiles and Magformers purchased for the library through the Disney grant we received through the American Library Association for our “Sculptamania!” project), but especially when paired with thoughtful quotations. My sucker status explains why I fall for merchandise such as quotablemagnets—a product line that features catchy quotes, proverbs, sayings, adages—on magnets, cards, mugs and other products, in white type on a black background or vice versa. 

I know it’s kind of silly to buy such things—I could easily write the quote on a piece of paper and stick it on the fridge with one of my many other regular magnets. I do have a couple of quotes that landed on my fridge by way of cards that friends sent such as this “kid Quotes” one from my friend Sondra, attributed to a five year old boy: “You make me smile all over my face.” But most of the magnet quotes I own were purchased by my only silly hand.

“If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing!”

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.”

“The challenge is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else.”

“Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused.”

A few weeks ago I was in a bookstore in Ann Arbor and on the “quotablemagnets” kiosk, found this one, which, yes, I had to buy:

“Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.”

OK, so I didn’t really have to buy it, but it spoke to me very particularly as I grapple with my tendency to worry about the outcomes of so many things. Little, big, doesn’t matter the size of a perceived problem, I’m a master worrier. I checked to see if I had written about worry before and discovered I had mentioned the word in at least 83 other columns.

A couple weeks ago when I was writing about Maddie and the inflatable doll, Judy, the topic of Craigslist came up and I remembered an exchange we’d had back in January. I am not a huge fan of Craigslist as it pertains to Maddie. She, on the other hand, fulfills the majority of her material needs through this website. Most of it she gets for free: “desk, giant dresser mirror, long skinny mirror, dresser, yellow filing cabinet, lamp, clothes steamer, plants, salt crystal lamp. I paid a little bit of money for the dresser and crystal lamp.”

Like she did in Chicago, she found her apartment complete with five roommates through Craigslist. She’s had amazing luck with the apartments—apparently the same sort of wacky people who find roommates through Craigslist are just harmless, nice, funny people—who appreciate presents also acquired on Craigslist.

We drew names for free Secret Santa presents and I got [Cortny]. She makes fun of/likes all my free Craigslist finds so I got hers [an octopus scene]...painted on 3 doors...on Craigslist. A lady made it for her partner's 60th birthday party and really wanted it to go to a good home.”

It is a pretty spectacular orange octopus with wide wavy stripes painted rich cobalt and aqua in the background.

But it’s the stories like this next one that make me forget Maddie is a fully functioning grown-up living a very cool life with no need for parental interference, and I kick into protective mother mode:

“I got a massive chair from someone’s garage that probably has bugs. It didn’t fit in my car, but this British man was picking up something else from the place and he lived near me and had a convertible mini and offered to put it in on top of his seats and I don’t know how to say no.”

I dashed off several emails, rapid fire:

12:58 a.m. You must put it outside right now.

12:58 a.m. Like right now

12:59 a.m. Like stop reading this and wake someone up and take it outside.

12:59 a.m. We'll practice saying no tomorrow.

Sure, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.”

Unless the chair has bed bugs. Then it will propel you right out of there.