How to Buy a Coffee Table on Craig’s List

1. Idly scan Craig’s List to avoid working on new book. Have no intention of buying anything.

2. Find coffee table that you would have designed if you were that smart. Assume someone else has already bought it.

3. Send e-mail to seller anyway. See step 1.

4. Faint when seller writes back with still-available coffee table.

5. Lay out measuring tape in middle of living room floor in coffee table size. Practice walking around it.

6. Have carpe diem moment.

7. Drive to Colorado to pick up table. Possibly only drive to Reseda, but decide it feels like Colorado only hotter. Get halfway there and regret not having brought tent and provisions. This better be a good coffee table. Begin to reconsider carpe diem moment.

8. Get to house and discover it’s a sort of quasi-farm in the middle of the valley. Smell horse poop. You’re reminded that the valley used to be farmland. Look at quickie lubes and Cantonese restaurants all around you. Find this hard to reconcile.

9. Give coffee table a look over. Try to appear as though you’re giving this serious consideration, but come on. You already drove to Colorado. You are going home with that table just as long as it’s not made of actual wet cardboard.

10. Purchase table from tail-less dog and tail-less dog’s owner. Pay asking price. Know you’re supposed to bargain but think asking price is fair and demanding less would make you feel like an asshole. Know when your friends find out you paid asking price on Craig’s List they will call you an asshole anyway.

11. Find table won’t fit in car. Watch husband and tail-less dog’s owner disassemble table while you and dog put your serious faces back on and try to say helpful things. Also hold bolts. You hold the bolts not the dog. Dog does not have thumbs. You are official bolt holder. Make sure not to lose any.

12. Find out dog’s name is Max. Hi, Max.

13. Realize that disassembled table is dirty. Very dirty. Probably-stored-in-a-barn kind of dirty.

14. Drive home from Colorado with table top in back seat and legs in trunk. Stop on way to buy coasters. You need them now.

15. Arrive home and supervise husband’s carrying up of very heavy table to third-floor apartment. Say helpful things. Also carry new coasters. Don’t forget the bolts! I am so helpful.

16. Go to clean table while still disassembled. Efficient! Search entire house for furniture polish. Realize housekeeper has used all furniture polish and not told you. Realize you haven’t dusted your own bookcases since hiring housekeeper one year ago. Realize it’s possible you’ve been out of polish that long. Wallow in shame.

17. Drive to grocery store to buy furniture polish.

18. Arrive and cower in fear at the violent mob and demolition derby gathered in the parking lot. Consider the possibility that Armageddon has arrived, and everyone in Los Angeles has come to your store to purchase last-minute toilet paper.

19. Realize it’s Memorial Day weekend, and everyone in Los Angeles has come to your store to buy beer.

20. Circle parking lot hopelessly for spot.

21. Consider suicide as a reasonable alternative to standing in these kinds of lines for furniture polish. Discover you have no sharp objects or firearms in the car and so squeeze full-size Honda into spot meant for motorcycle and go inside instead.

22. Stand in cleaning supply aisle and wonder at furniture polish options. Wonder if they had these kind of choices back when you used to buy cleaning supplies. Receive new wave of shame.

23. Choose Old English because it smells like almonds but not in an arsenic kind of way.

24. Go through self check-out machine. Remember why you believe said machines to be tools of Satan. Again no firearms.

25. Return home and commence cleaning. Bravely tackle cobwebs.

26. Discover two spiders. Hello, childhood-onset arachnophobia! Good to see you again.

27. Swallow panic. Only yelp like wounded puppy once. Manage to kill one of the man-eating, flesh-gnawing, poisonous monsters all by yourself with nothing but a paper towel. Huzzah!

28. Do victorious war dance. Act as though you have slain a bear in your very own living room because, hey, you have. Be very proud of yourself for not calling to husband even though you maybe thought about it. Maybe. But you didn’t! And you totally could have.

29. Watch husband reassemble spider-free table. Give helpful suggestions. Note that no bolts have been lost.

30. Set new coasters on new table. Discover real purpose for all those coffee table books people have been giving you since high school graduation. You’ve never owned a coffee table before. Decide you are a real grown up now.

31. Begin searching Craig’s List for cool rug because, hey, the table needs a rug.