Chalk and cheese

Chalk?I had one of those moments last weekend where I was reminded how different our views on the world can be from those of the people we love. My partner and I have been coveting a particular sofa from IKEA since last year and finally the the weekend came that we checked the all important finances and hey presto! – we could afford it. (hey I work for a non-profit so we have to be frugal) With the new sofa duly ordered we returned to the house to decide what to do with the old one, and after a call around the extended family to make sure nobody needed it we decided that Gumtree was the way forward.

Out came the camera and out went the cat to capture a shot of the sofa from an angle with the fewest creases possible (only minor sofa Botox required…done properly it flattens with no ironing needed, just pin those wrinkles back with the cushions – unfortunately, like Botox, this is not a longterm cure for a saggy sofa!) Next we had to write the perfect ad, afterall we needed someone to want this sofa so bad they’d pick it up and take it away in 3 days. Now comes the tricky bit – how easy do you make it for people to contact you…how much information do you put out there?

Now this is where we differ, my other half and I. I am a cynic, I err on the side of caution when it comes to giving the world my contact details. She, on the other hand, assumes the best of everyone and is therefore much more free with information. This is one of the characteristics I fell in love with in the first place but I know I will never be quite as trusting as she, which probably makes us a pretty good team as I reckon the best place to be on the sliding scale of cynicism probably lies somewhere in the middle. I won the first round and our ad asked people to reply by email not phone, however the second round was not so straight forward. What if someone wanted to test the sofa before buying – a perfectly reasonable request. I argued that we should place the sofa outside our front door in the entrance hall so that we would not have to let strangers into our house – they could be casing the joint afterall! I was duly told not to be so bloody paranoid and with that off she went for a run.

Five minutes later in comes the first email and of course they want to come round and view the sofa – one protracted internal monologue later I take the bull by the horns and email them my number asking them to call for directions. Of course if they are a burglar or indeed serial killer I will be able to tell after a 3 second conversation on my mobile!!! The rather tiny girl who appeared 30 minutes later was neither a burglar nor a serial killer but surprisingly just someone who needed a sofa…and a stark reminder for the cynic in me that there are a lot of good people out there, some of them might even be people you come across online.

or cheese?This foray into the blogosphere is, I suppose in some part at least, my attempt to make myself less cynical, to accept that in the world of the human web it is sometimes better to assume the best of people, afterall I would prefer others to assume the best of me. Social networking for me is a learning experience much aided by others sharing their experiences, being open and honest and assuming the best of the people they meet online and for me it pays to remember that the person on the other end of that @ is probably not a scary person at all and could well be someone who could become a valuable contact, perhaps even friend, in the offline world…..they may even want to buy your sofa

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