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This is highly apocryphal, but it's said that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response?

"For sale. Baby shoes. Never Worn."

The anecdote is usually told to novice writers in an attempt to hammer home the point that it's possible to say a lot with very few words, provided they are the right ones. This is a good point, not just for novice writers. However, there's another lesson in there, a lesson less applicable to the writer's workshop: the things we buy and sell can speak volumes to who and what we are. These days, most person-to-person commerce happens via craigslist. This is a wonderful thing because craigslist is a)anonymous, b)updated every couple of minutes, c)ridiculously simple, d)free, and e)ubiquitous. Also, posters can indicate "where" some item for sale/service to be rendered/job offer/romantic interlude is to be found. The "where" aspect is very important here because, with a little searching, it's easy to see what everyone in a given neighborhood (say, Normal Heights!) is willing to trade on any given day at any given time. It's like a tiny economic study of the neighborhood, without all the calculus, or any other measure of scientific accuracy. Clearly, analyzing the Normal Heights craigslist ads is the best way to understand this wicked sweet little corner of San Diego.

As promised, The Point: the coolest ad I can find on craigslist that has "Normal Heights" (or some variation on that theme) as its location will be strenuously and objectively analyzed to reveal the substance of Normal Heights and the lives of those who live there.

Rules: One ad per day. Every day. "For Sale/Wanted" ads only.

(Rules will be Periodically and Flagrantly Disobeyed as needed for the sake of Art)

That said, here's today's ad:

Looking for Large Cardboard - $1 (Normal Heights)

This ad just screams "Normal Heights." What is an Art Car? Why does it require such an enormous amount of cardboard? What is clear, from the tenor of the ad, is that the Art Car is an extremely important phenomenon worthy of three (3) bangs (!) to indicate the poster's extreme willingness to travel far and wide for the sake of Large Cardboard. This Art Car builder is the kind of person who makes Normal Heights into such a great neighborhood. Why is it that everything around here is drenched in Awesome Sauce, garnished with a fresh sprig of Righteousness, and served on a plate of Pure Radness? Because Normal Heights is the kind of neighborhood in which people seek Large Cardboard--sometimes willing to pay $1 for same--in order to make mysterious (but undoubtedly cool) Art Cars. I hope this person finds all the Large Cardboard he or she can handle, builds the greatest Art Car ever, and rolls it down Adams Ave. I don't know if Art Cars roll, it's even likely that they don't, but just knowing this is going on out there, possibly just down the street from me, reminds me why I like living here so much.

Comments
1

Discovery! We'll see if it was removed "in just a few minutes" tomorrow.

"This posting has expired. (The title on the listings page will be removed in just a few minutes.)"

Sept. 26, 2009

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