I made off with someone else’s car. Someone else’s stuff.
How exactly did I get here?
It began innocently enough. My husband and I responded to a Craigslist ad. We planned to purchase a console table, but were unable to squeeze it into our car. The seller tried to angle it in, provided tools to dismantle and load and neighbours attracted by the spectacle even came out to offer advise and encouragement. That’s when I noticed the unattended minivan.
Did I think I could just swipe a van for a few hours and getaway with it?
Of course not. My crime was not one of larceny, but one of modern social behaviour.
When a neighbour offered up his minivan to transport the table, my jaw-dropped. I declined to impose any further on his afternoon. And while the man did not protest, he suggested that I take the van on my own! Now remember, this man is not my neighbour. I’m just responding to an ad for a table and he happened to hit me up with generosity. It was so weird. It was the kind of niceness that brings out the ugly in us. You know, when someone offers you a lift home and you immediately think abduction. I wondered if he would report his vehicle stolen as soon as I pulled out of his driveway? Or is would he accuse me of causing the scratches that were already apparent on dulling paint? Why did this person feel comfortable spending gas and mileage on a perfect stranger? These are the questions that make me a sucky person.
When I refused his assistance for the 20th time, he said Nonsense. We’ve gotta help our brothers and sisters. That’s what the book says, right? And handed me the keys.
When I finally agreed to borrow the minivan, the Craigslist seller suggested that she come along. That way, my husband could drive our car and she could drive the minivan back. During the ride, the seller told me she recently went back to school and graduated with a degree in communications. She was a rookie production manager.
When we reached my home, I set my neurotic tendencies aside. I did pay it forward. The seller was sent off not only with full payment, but a bonus bottle of wine and a six-pack for her generous neighbour.
As for me, I’ve fully recovered from the experience.