Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A gambler, I'm not.

I left the family sitting at the dinner table and got in the car to drive across town, following directions scribbled onto a sheet of notebook paper. I got lost twice before I finally turned my van into the driveway and climbed out into the dark. A light was on inside the house, but he met me at my car. He handed me a paper shopping bag, and we self-consciously rifled through it's contents together. I thanked him nervously. Then I handed him $300, and drove away.

All my son's money, along with what we'd contributed for his birthday. Handed to a teenage boy in a driveway, for a used video game system with two games and all the trimmings.

"A steal!" The Man and my son had insisted. It was just listed on Craigslist hours before. Driving away I was sick to my stomach. The entire ride home thoughts battled through my head.

'I should have made him set it up for me and show me it all works. What was I thinking? What if it doesn't work?'

'He seemed like a nice boy. Plus I know where he lives.'

'Did he really even live there? I didn't even go in the house. I am sure there is some rule about that. I should have at least made sure that was his house.'

'Lord please let this thing work. Please don't let me be the mom who spent my kids savings on a scam.'

'He really did seem like a nice kid.'

When I finally walked into the door to my house and handed the bulging American Eagle bag to my husband, I snapped. "Please set this thing up and make sure it works before I throw up."

He did. And it did.

And Brandon played his game. And I sat on the sofa silently giving thanks for my temporarily restored faith in humanity. While watching him perfect gunning down aliens with a machine gun. The irony was not lost on me.

Happy Birthday Kiddo. Fire away. Tomorrow, we'll be getting you some sports games for that thing.


spaz said...

You are courageous! I'm glad it works too. I can't believe I forgot the other bag of goodies last night. Ugh! Sorry :(

Bon777 said...

Maybe it's just because I live in a small town but I really do believe in human decency. It's not totally lost, thanks for reminding us.

I hope your boy had a great birthday!

Kyla said...

I'd have been nervous, too! I'm glad it worked!

Lori said...

Brandon must be so excited! And I would have been sick about it too. Can I also say that I would have absolutely made The Man run that particular errand!!

Yes, sports games are good.

Kimberly said...

LOL! Boy have I been there and done that, just recently. :) It's always a joy when it all works out as well as it did for you though. I love a bargain!

painted maypole said...

" silently giving thanks for my temporarily restored faith in humanity. While watching him perfect gunning down aliens with a machine gun. The irony was not lost on me."

ha ha

Chaotic Joy said...

Oh Lori. Trust me, I was wishing the entire time that The Man had been assigned this task. Alas, he has the excuse of working every night until nine, and we were afraid the teenager's parents might not like us showing up at 10:00PM to complete our seedy transaction. The Man and Brandon were so concerned that we might miss the "really great deal" that I reluctantly agreed to let Brandon watch the Weekids while I ran out immediately.

The whole time I just kept wondering how I had allowed myself to be roped into it. I know so little about video game systems I doubt I would have even known if the kid given me something different completely.

nutmeg said...

Whew! For a minute there I thought you were buying drugs!

Lori said...

Okay... it sounds like the Man had a decent excuse.

But wouldn't that have been funny if you had come home with an old Atari set?!? Brandon could be enjoying a nice game of Breakout or Pong right now! :)

mandy said...

i LOVE your writing style.

we've never done craig's list before. something about it makes me nervous. its kinda like a personal pawn shop or something... but i'm glad it worked for you!

Beck said...

One of the nice things about living in a small town (hey! The same one as Bonnie!) is that if I bought the video game system and it didn't work, I would TOTALLY know who sold it to me.

PJ said...

Oh what a parent will do for their offspring's happiness!! It sounded like a drug deal!! But you forgot to put the $300 in a brown paper bag!

I'm glad it worked out!!

Chrissy said...

It does feel a little seedy, doesn't it? We use Craigslist a lot, and the only time I've gotten burned was when I bought a lawn mower that leaked gasoline after I got home. So I just showed back up at his house with it, got my money back, and went to Sears.

Christy said...

You have more guts than me...I would have made my Hubby go :)

thirtysomething said...

WHEW! I guess, really, most of the time, people are genuinely honest. But, I would have been as nervous as you! Glad it worked!