A hundred and twenty paver stones from an unearthed patio are stacked in front of our garage door. I’m not bothered by their presence; no one parks in the garage, they’re in the way of nothing.
My husband Patrick talks about putting them on Craigslist for a while. He takes a photo but stops there. I feel proactive one evening, so I post the photo along with an appropriately concise description: “Lot of approximately 120 paver / patio stones. Each measures 15.5″ x 7.5″ x 1.75″. $100 OBO for entire lot.”
The price was Patrick’s suggestion. It seems like a lot to me, but I know nothing about paver stones, and there are no comparative listings for reference.
A man named Bill emails with an offer of $25.
“Someone named Bill offered $25,” I tell Patrick.
“Ask for $50,” he says.
“We can do $50,” I reply.
I don’t hear back for two days. I assume Bill’s boat has sailed.
His response comes at 12:30 am on the third day. “hi,” he writes, no caps of any kind. “the only reason i offered you that low of an offer is that i got some of these same pavers for free – the owner told me i was the only call for them – i will wait to see if you sell them – thank you – bill.”
I read and reread it at 4am, when I have woken up early for no reason. I tell myself that the reply is literal, that the anonymity of Craigslist inhibits Bill from knowing anything about me other than my zip code and a random series of 32 characters that replaces my email address. I suppose he can see the corner of our garage door in the photo but that does not give away my gender. Still, I feel the spreading burn of condescension that I so often felt as a young woman when a man decided to tell me how the world worked. All of it is concentrated into that one sentence: “i will wait to see if you sell them.” Not, “let me know if you don’t sell them,” not even the more aggressive, “i doubt you’ll sell them.” Bill went with: “i will hang back and watch you fail. then i’ll swoop in and do you the favor of taking your goods at no cost while smugly smiling down at your petty foolishness.”
I consider my options:
That’s so kind of you to wait. I’m happy to send daily status updates.
I wouldn’t let you take these paver stones off my hands if you were Robert Mueller and they were evidence in Trump’s collusion with Russia.
Wow—I guess I am in over my head with these paver stones! Feel free to swing by later and grab them. Tonight’s chicken pot pie night if you want to stop up for a bite!
I imagine grinding the paver stones into a fine powder and adding a spoonful to Bill’s breakfast every day until he shits concrete.
I reflect thoughtfully on my anger. I will not reply to Bill. I am a woman in America.