Who’s List? Craigslist!

Where on Earth would you go if you needed a roommate, free cyclone fencing and some information on affordable childcare in your neighborhood – all at the same time? Why Craigslist, of course – specifically portland.craigslist.org. Craigslist is the coolest thing, in case you didn’t know. Curious? Of course you are.

Craig Newmark started the first Craigslist Web site in 1995 in the San Francisco Bay Area. It quickly drew national attention, and by the end of 2000 Boston, Seattle, New York, Chicago, LA, Portland, San Diego, Washington D.C. and Sacramento all had a Craigslist site that catered to their specific area.

Personally, I have found a roommate, several garage sales and someone to take my old fridge off my hands (for free) through Craigslist. If I were so inclined, I could find a parakeet, a date, a house, a musician, upholstery lessons, a job, and ride to Seattle. Come on, who doesn’t want all that in a website?

The seven main sections of Craigslist are as follows: Community, Housing, Jobs, Personals, For Sale, Discussion Forum and Services. Under each of those categories is a list of many more options.

Missed Connections is basically Willamette Week’s Chance Meetings and The Portland Mercury’s I Saw U ads. But it’s so much better because as soon as you write your ad, you receive an email from Craigslist – which they call the self-publishing email – and once you click “Publish,” voila, your ad is online. Okay, a half an hour later your ad is online. But that’s still much sooner than Willamette Week or The Mercury could do. And you can write as much as you damn well please.

But wait, there’s more!

Pregnant? Getting married? There’s a listing for a “Maternity Wedding Dress” for $700. Wow! Beat that, April Showers Wedding Boutique!

Tired of watching scrambled porn? How about a “Cable Descrambler” for the sweet sweet price of only $150! Or, to make things a little easier for you, treat yourself to a “Sensual Massage” for $80 per hour. But remember, this poster is offering “ONLY a massage,” you pervert. This, of course, is listed under Erotic Services.

One of the greatest yet also lamest parts of Craigslist is the Rants and Raves section. I think the way this is supposed to work is that someone will post a rant (usually negative) or a rave (usually positive) about anything – their lame roommate, someone who flipped them off in traffic, school, your mom, my mom, the weather – seriously anything.

The reality, though, is that someone will post something “controversial” (as in “I hate all _____ people because they are all _____,” and then the rest of the posts are spent on yelling at the original poster (they do this by using all caps so it looks like they’re yelling). Usually one kind soul will eventually write something like: “Don’t hate each other, my friends.” To which someone else will respond: “No one likes you, hippy. Go blow yourself.” And on and on and on. I suppose it’s easy to be rude and tough in a place like the Internet, where you have no identity.

Some post titles of note are “sphincter boy shithead,” “Okay Liberal Sissys…Listen Up Kettlecorn Brains,” and “ya whom ever hits women is a chicken shit coward bastard.” This is but a small sampling of what the Craigslist Rants and Raves section offers. To get your fill of misspellings, racism, swearing galore and other generally annoying things, log on to the site.

While you’re in the area, check out the Free list under the For Sale heading. There is the most random stuff here. Like I said, I got rid of an old, ugly, but working fridge through this section. Our landlord bought us a new one, and said we could sell the old one if we wanted. But what would that bring us? Fifty bucks? And split that between five roommates … it really didn’t bother us to give it away for free. It was picked up the same day we posted by a couple with a truck that just wanted an extra fridge for beer. You know how one man’s broken washing machine leaking yellow oil is another man’s avant-garde art? That’s exactly the deal with this section of the website.

In a word Craigslist is awesome. It’s also a great way to kill time. Even if you don’t need a surfboard, a didgeridoo, Blazers tickets or “chain mail made to order,” check out Craigslist. As I’ve learned, it’s a great way to avoid homework.