I used to use Gumtree to look for girls to date and/or have sex with. I'm not ashamed of that. I was single for a very long time, after all, and then I was single for six months at the beginning of 2011 as well. As opposed to Craigslist (which, to my knowledge, still runs both personal ads and NSA ones, but has become overrun with people looking for money) - a site which just looks seedy - and any of the other multitude of dating sites (which all require payment), Gumtree was free, easy to browse and full of seemingly beautiful young ladies practically begging to be seduced.
I used Gumtree again today - although not to look for a girl. I was looking for a job. For those of you who don't know, due to cuts my previous job was axed a couple of weeks back, and so I'm back on the trail - albeit somewhat lamely, because my heart's not really in this much yet, plus (much as I hate to admit it) I quite liked being unemployed last time. Browsing any site for any kind of job is disheartening, but seeing something available on a road just around the corner from you is a new one on me.
Really? There's a place five minutes away? Let's check it out.
Folder in hand, I went for a walk. As I passed down the road, the foggy depths of my mind groped for the connection. I swear there was some sort of connection between searching Gumtree and this road. It's been a long time since I used Gumtree. What was it?
"Eureka!" I shouted to nobody in particular, causing some old ladies to start and stare at me. Of course! This is one of the nicest roads in my area. I'd always imagined the (fake) beautiful young ladies of the Gumtree NSA section to live in it. Never mind that they were all probably 50-year-old men in trenchcoats collecting cock pictures and credit card details; this was the road they lived in. An assumption exacerbated by the fact that the palm trees and decorative fountains of the villas on said road made for a grand overstatement of the luxury of comfortable living. Yeah, I could get used to this.
I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I walked past the place I was supposed to be delivering a CV to. Doubling back, it's not hard to see why I missed it. It was a house. Just, you know, a house. Quite a nice house, but still - a house. Not really the commercial venture that its ad on Gumtree had suggested, and certainly not a place that looks like it'd accept a geek in a shirt delivering a CV. Nevertheless, I pressed the buzzer. Predictably, there was no answer. I even tried some of the number combinations to see if I could effectively break in... which probably wasn't the best idea in the world.
So another idea hit me. Out of my folder I fished a notebook and a pen. Tearing a page from my notebook, I wrote an explanatory letter to the business owner, folded it neatly up and bundled both it and a CV into a standard envelope, which I sealed, writing "FAO: Business Owner" on the front. There. So, even if this was his private address and not his commercial venture (and even if it was, why'd he put his address on Gumtree, eh?! Ridiculous.), my CV would get to him, along with a letter... if he could read my handwriting. It's difficult to do that sometimes.
I was about to put the letter into the letterbox, yet more old women staring at me as if a young man in a raincoat writing a letter against a brick wall wasn't a regular everyday occurrence, when I suddenly got cold feet. Adjusting my shoes, I began to doubt that I was doing the right thing. What if this wasn't a business address? Was I, effectively, making a fool of myself by putting my name and address through a totally inappropriate letterbox?
So I settled upon the only reasonable course of action... I stuck my hand through the letterbox and pulled out all the letters in it.
They were mostly addressed to this one guy whose name I didn't recognise, including a copy of The Economist (but I've no idea what that indicates. At least it wasn't the Daily Mail). And, yes, they all appeared to be just... well... letters. But, oh ho ho, what's this? A registered letter from... where? Spain? And does it have the company's name on it? Why, yes! Yes it does! Good enough for me. I shoved all the letters back through the slot from whence they'd come, followed by my own, thus bringing my saga to an end.
I turned and headed for home through the combination of drizzle and sunshine. Maybe there weren't any real girls from Gumtree living on this road... but I got to sample its delights, in a way, after all.