You may be wondering how my quest to obtain a free bicycle is going. Quite poorly, actually. It would seem that free, brand-new bikes on the sidewalk aren’t something you see everyday. So, I’ve been toying with the idea of engaging in some kind of “monetary exchange.” We don’t really have a bicycle line item in our budget, though you could argue that it would pay for itself with the gas we would save. But that assumes I would actually ride it with some kind of regularity, of which there are no guarantees.
So, for the past week, I’ve been scanning the ads on Craig’s List. I know other people who have had fantastic luck with online classifieds, but my experience has been that the sellers are often crazy or liars or both. Like the time I drove further out of my way than usual only to be shown something completely different:
Me: You do realize that this bears no resemblance to the picture in the ad?
Him: Were you looking for something with those exact features?
Me: Um, yes! That is indeed why I’m here.
(On the bright side, I didn’t end up getting bludgeoned by the crazy liar and dumped into the river, so I guess all’s well that ends well. )
Still, Craig’s List, your appeal cannot be denied. Before I knew it, I spied a very cool yellow bike that was priced to sell (though still out of my range). It beckoned me with a force that could not be ignored. Here’s how my e-mail exchange with the seller went down.
Me: Hi there. I love the bike you have for sale. It's surely worth what you’re asking, but, sadly, I don't have $[redacted] to spend. In the event that other potential buyers don't work out, please keep me in mind. My negotiations come with a homemade pie (or cookies, if you're not really a pie person). P.S. I am not a crackpot.
Her: Thanks, I’ll keep the baked goods economy in mind. I do have someone coming to look at it this evening and tomorrow a.m.…Perhaps I should warn them to wear a little apple and cinnamon cologne for the visit.
Me: They should! Although the smell of cold, hard cash is tempting, too.
Her: I’ll let you know what happens…
Me: I'll be waiting!!
After a few days, I heard back.
Her: So what price were you thinking?
Me: I might be able to scrape together $[redacted], which is probably insulting. But, don't forget the pie!!! Pies are priceless. Although all this weekend I was suffering from pie performance anxiety. Like what if I suddenly can't make a pie under pressure. I'd have to make two and taste one first just to be sure it was good (not a problem--I love pie). But if it sucked, I'd have to keep making more until I got it right. But then after the 14th try, I'd probably just give up and hand over a substandard pie, then pedal away as fast as I could yelling, "There's your sucky pie, suckers!!!"
…Hmmmmm, I guess the crazy one is me this time! (Note to Tammy: one doesn’t need to share one’s neurotic, unedited thoughts when corresponding with complete strangers.) Needless to say, I am not in possession of that bike. My negotiating skills, it would seem, could use a tune-up.