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Reading classified ads in the sporting-goods section is like walking through a toxic dump of hope. Every ad is a dream abandoned. Follows are three stories from people who placed ads on sandiego.backpage.com or classifiedads.com.

* * *

Elliptical Exerciser (PRO-FORM XP 115). $240. South San Diego.

“It has a fan and it has many — I don’t have the paper with me, but many…I think it’s 13 different exercise types.”

The woman sounds Hispanic, has a pronounced accent, youngish, maybe 30 years old.

“I think we bought it, like, two years ago. We paid over $500. We bought it at Sears.” Silence. “We don’t use it a lot,” the woman laughs. “We don’t even use it. I think only my husband used it. I never did. It was just one person, and it was every week, I guess. Once a week, maybe.”

* * *

Nordic Track. $150 or best. Pt. Loma.

“It’s probably 19 or 20 years old.” The man sounds older, maybe 70. “I’ve had some circulation problem in my legs, and I haven’t been able to use it for the past four or five years.

“I don’t remember what I paid for it,” the man laughs. “My memory is going along with everything else. I’ve checked on the internet, and the new ones are selling for $700, $800. This one works good, mimics cross-country skiing.

“It doesn’t have a running speed thing. You set the speed by how you move your arms and legs. You can adjust the tension in both of those places to have more or less pressure on what you’re working against.

“I don’t ski, but it seemed like good exercise…works the shoulders, arms, legs. I had a friend who owned one and he raved about it. I used it, probably, every day.”

* * *

NISSAN OUTBOARD, 5 horsepower. Motor is like new. $475 or best offer. Marriott Marina.

“I’m not sure how old it is. I got it from my nephew. He went to Switzerland, and I bought it from him. He didn’t use it much, not really. He had it on one of those rubber rafts, a Zodiac raft. It looks like it’s brand new.

“I haven’t fired it up. I went to a Nissan dealer and he says, ‘Change the oil and go from there.’ He told me new ones sell for $1400, $1500. You just look at it, it’s brand new.

“I live on a yacht. I thought maybe I could keep the motor, but they made us sell our small boats. We had runabouts, you know? I’m down at Marriott Marina. So, anyways, it looks like it’s never been used, to tell you the truth. I got the manual on it.

“They keep raising the damn rent. I started out here at $550 and I’m up to $1150. Then, insurance runs around $100 a month on the yacht. Then, you got to get the boat bottom cleaned every other month. On a fixed income, that’s not too good.

“The utilities ain’t too bad. There was one thing they did nobody liked. They got two big parking lots down here. They have events all the time, so people complained about not having parking places because we paid for parking, which was really nothing — $50 a month. Anyway, people complained about not having parking, so they raised the fee to $125. Now you got parking places marked for boat owners. That makes it nicer, but you’re paying for it, too.

“This place is run like a dictatorship. We have nothing to say about anything. They do what they want to do. That’s the only thing I don’t like about it. They’ve got everything here but a golf course. It’s just the way they run the place I don’t like.

“They say 10 percent of the people in the marina are liveaboards. They had a big fire down here, five boats burned up. If it wasn’t for the people living on boats it probably would have burned the whole marina down. And then after that happened they made us get rid of our small boats because they said they might float across the aisle and start another fire. Well, all you had to do is chain the boat to the yacht. That really pissed me off. I had to give the damn thing away. Then, after the fire, the liveaboards paid $200 extra a month after saving all those other boats. The way they run this place is really bad. Then, they were going to tear down the parking lot and build apartments. They got crazy people running this place, I’m telling you.

“Like I said, it looks brand new. I’ll even come down to $400.”

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