An hour from now, I'll be out of work. With the end of January, my employment at Imperial ends. At almost the same time, my five-year tenancy at North End Road is coming to an end. Getting my life into boxes turned out less difficult than I had feared. I don't have all that much stuff after all, despite the best efforts of my friends who kept giving me leaving presents.
Getting rid of furniture took a while but wasn't all that difficult either. Some things I put on Gumtree. People then called me and offered not only to pick them up from my flat but also reward me monetarily for the privilege. That was good, but it didn't work for everything. Other things I put on Freecycle. This community might be rather small, despite even me heaving heard about it. My shoe rack and my stereo rack were picked up by the same person, about a week apart. I wonder if she'll react to the ads I've posted just now.
Much to my relief, the most difficult sell wasn't the sofa I had brought over from France. It was already broken when I bought it second-hand nearly ten years ago and then almost broke Flucha's back when we hauled it up the stairs to my flat. I dreaded the effort of getting rid of it, but a couple who had just moved into a flat were happy to give me a hand and then drive off with Klippan to make their new home homelier.
My dining table, solid wood and with four matching chairs, was more persistent. The ad languished on Gumtree for a good week with no response. Then, today, there were two expressions of interest. Heather was quicker and definitely more eager. She called, asked for my bank details, and five minutes later an amount matching the asking price showed up in my account. In return, I gave her my address and told her when to pick up the set.
The speed of the banking transaction should be enough to take my breath away, but what really stunned me was the trust this woman put in me. On Ebay, at least there's feedback. You can have some confidence that the person behind the ad is legitimate. With Gumtree, there's absolutely nothing. I could be a complete scam. There might be no table, or at least not at the address I gave.
And yet, this woman was ready to part with her money on nothing more than a phone conversation, nothing more than my word, essentially. In times when religiously confused nutters rampage through Paris to fight the pen with guns, it's most comforting to know that civilization has not died. Maybe I should buy Heather chocolates for being such a good neighbor.