Over the course of nine months, I find my way out of numerous sticky spots, thanks to Craigslist. But when readers of my blog pick Savannah, Ga. I find work in a Greek restaurant where I manage to make friends, and live comfortably enough in a leaky house on the outskirts of town. I experience my only sense of failure here. For the first time in nine months, I buy a roll of toilet paper from a real store that has no affiliation to Craigslist.
I drift. And finally, I go home.
Sometimes it seems that my generation and hers speak entirely different languages. I thought this digital divide would hold up in the world of Craigslist.
If I had one misconception in setting off on my Craigslist journey, it was that there would be a typical Craigslist user. During the course of my nine months, I did a Rideshare with a year-old who uses Craigslist as a means to travel and enjoy his retirement. He died in August from an apparent suicide in a Boston jail before he could be tried.
Even with my extensive use of Craigs-list, it in many ways remains an enigma. People shield themselves behind cryptic e-mail addresses, often lying about their true identity even when meeting in person.
Of course, Craigslist also works for people hoping to live out their deepest sexual fantasies. Throughout my journey, I did what I could to ensure my own safety.
I met strangers in public places and told at least one person where I was going each time. I usually had backup plans.
Most of the time, though, it just boiled down to intuition. There was the time I drove 2, miles, from Cleveland to Denver, without stopping to sleep.
And the wintry night I moved into that Denver house that was like something out of a Chuck Palahniuk novel, complete with rodents and drugs, with neither locks nor working heat. I suppose I owe them those nights—though I did save them from many more by keeping secret, at least until the next morning, the evenings I spent having a drink or seeing a movie with a complete stranger.
But I owe them much more than a catching-up on some long-lost Zs. Neither of my parents had ever gone on Craigslist before I decided to jump into a car for my destination unknown. Regardless, they were there for me through the thousands of miles, dozens of strangers and several mistakes.
But they had faith that it ultimately would take me where I needed to go. In September, Craigslist came under fire for its Adult Services section, which was allegedly linked to child exploitation and sex trafficking. Regardless, Craigslist teaches us one thing: If you want something, go for it.
Just watch your back.
No one, not even Craigslist, will do that for you. This of course applies to my journey, too. Jason Paul lives in Gaithersburg and is currently working as a freelance writer. He is also working on adapting his blog, Livingcraigslist.
Spring: The ugly Over the course of nine months, I find my way out of numerous sticky spots, thanks to Craigslist. Related Stories. A short story.
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