An Interview with Amy Escobar

HR: So Amy! What are you working on for IRL: Craigslist?

AE: I am writing a play and my category is Rants and Raves, which I had never been to previously so I have now spent plenty of time on Craigslist.

HR: Have you been finding some good material on Rants and Raves?

AE: Well, I hate it there. I hate it there. I’d never had any reason to go there before so I’d never seen it and what is it, is just like, if there was a comments section for everything and nothing. So what it actually is, is entirely rants and it’s the most hateful, bigoted, racist, sexist, homophobic, just all of the worst parts of humanity just thrown into one.. And mostly what is right now is Clinton, Clinton, Clinton, Trump, Trump, Trump, and why everyone who likes either of those candidates is stupid, or why those candidates are monsters, any number of things. And that, mixed with all kinds of other hate. So I had a really hard time…I thought, my instinct is not to do a political piece, I mean there is going to be politics there, but I wasn’t drawn to what seemed like the same post over and over again about Clinton and Trump. There was so much other hate to choose from! So I gravitated, if you will, more towards the female hate. All the opinions that people, because I don’t know if they are men or women, about how women should present themselves, the way that women are disgusting for various reasons. And then there were a few that stuck out because they seemed really genuine in a way that sad in a different way. In a way that was people reaching for help in a desolate place where nobody is here to help anybody really. But small cries for help that really stuck out amongst all the “Fuck this!” “Fuck that!” “You’re fat and disgusting!” and lot of weird things too that I didn’t know people had issues with, a lot of women with tattoos, especially if they were overweight.

HR: Like shaming them?

AE: Yeah, shaming them. And then how, it was so weird to me, because I’m thinking is it just women? So you don’t like tatoos but you don’t like them on women specifically is offensive to you.. So all kinds of hate that I didn’t even know about. If you ever need to remember how hateful people are just go to the Rants and Raves section of the internet!

HR: Good to know.

AE: Yeah… I found about two raves I think. And usually it seemed like people who were either drunk or on drugs. There was one that was like “IIIII fucking love cupcakes! My friend gave me a cupcake and it’s sooo good!” so I thought maybe I could do a play about that but I didn’t choose just one and write about it. I sort of sifted through… I really struggled with how to approach it because it’s not the place I would go to for inspiration normally, which is kind of why I wanted to do it too. I am going to have to write about something that I wouldn’t have gone to to inspire me. I picked a couple that stuck with me and went from there... but it was a weird process.

HR: I bet. So it sounds like you’ve used Craigslist before - what do you usually use it for?

AE: All kinds of things! I’ve gotten a lot of jobs, the job I have right now, I found on Craigslist. I have gotten furniture, apartments, done some dealings in the seedier parts of Craigslist… that maybe I shouldn’t mention because maybe my mom will read this. But all over! I’ve gotten free haircuts from Craigslist, I’ve done all kind of things off Craigslist.

HR: Any good stories worth sharing?

AE: Oh boy…

HR: Or anything bizarre where you thought, how did I get here?

AE: Oh sure, but I knew how I got there. If you go to the Casual Encounters part of Craigslist, you’re not looking for, you know, bubblegum. So that was not a great experience, but I put myself in it so I assume when you go into the more devious sections of Craigslist, I should hope people know what they are in for. They are casual encounters. I’ve never been to like, the Opinions page of Craigslist, mostly because I don’t want to read a bunch of people’s opinions. That’s the thing, who are these people? Why are they here? Do they not have friends to talk to? They are so angry. They are so angry. There must be no one around them saying, you seem like you’ve got a lot on your mind, let’s talk about it.

HR: So you’ve gotten furniture, jobs, anything else?

AE: I’ve made money in weird ways. I once made a little over a thousand dollars hanging out with a guy. I just hung out with him and we’d go places.

HR: What did you talk about?

AE: I remember he was into gaming, but maybe I’m just making that up because we were at an arcade place one time. I just remember that he lived in one of those economy apartments that is very small and has a sort of a hotel-like set up and he had a high paying job and he just didn’t spend very much money so he was paying for a girl to hang out with him. But that got weird because it was very clear that he wanted it to evolve and I basically just ran away. I thought okay this sounded like a good bad idea but now it’s just a bad idea. It never got scary but that was an interesting way I made money one time. I hung out with that guy probably three or four times. Looking back on it, it does really stupid of me because anything could have happened when I was at his place or in his car but you live and you learn. Desperate times.

HR: Is there an internet trend that you couldn’t live without?

AE: I could live without any of them but I’d say I’m most dependent on Facebook at this time and by dependent I meant that that’s how I find out that anything is happening.

HR: Is there a trend that you refuse to take part in?

AE: There are some short ism’s that I don’t love, I’ll never write “lol”. I would just rather write “haha!”... I don’t know if that’s better. I use a lot of thumbs up emoji.

Amy is a writer and performer using the topic Rants and Raves from Craigslist. Catch her first full length play produced by Annex Theatre, Scary Mary and the Nightmares Nine, this winter.