Most of you didn't know there was a Saga of the Fan (amongst y'all, I only told coffeeinhell about it), but here it is:
A few weeks ago our building's owners cleaned out LOTS of stuff from our basement, telling us beforehand to move and store stuff we wanted to keep. I had to find space for an end table and a fan I wasn't yet using, and I didn't have room for in either my apartment or my storage closet, so I asked one of the owners if I could move those to a mostly-unused part of a hall next to my apartment. He said sure. Thus, for a while, I'd come home to the sight of the little round table and the fan atop it.
A week ago I came home to the sight of the little round table.
Aggravated, is what I was. And what did I flash back to, and what made me not do anything about this immediately? The last house I lived in. Near the end of the year-and-a-half I lived there, I started to realize that a housemate (I'll call him "A") was using my stuff without permission. But ol' non-confrontational me didn't do anything about it yet, not until I returned from a week's vacation in July 2002 to find my computer had been used while I was 3,000 miles away. Again, by A.
It turned out to be worse. When I talked about this to "J," the maintenance guy for the house, he admitted he'd used my computer, too. He'd been in my room, which I'd OK'd because my window needed repairs, at the same time he had his teenaged son over. (J's son lived with J's ex-wife.) The son asked J if he could go online. And this middle-aged guy who should know about responsibility DIDN'T say "Well, no, we shouldn't, because we don't know from Chris if that's OK"; no, he helped him get online. And then A poked his head in, asked them to leave the computer on, and started using it after they left.
Which is why I came home to a computer whose internet history from when I was gone included a mix of toy websites and hardcore porn.
Last straw. I moved out of that house a month-and-a-half later. I was being taken advantage of, and that made me finally decide to leave (an option I'd been considering). J, to his credit, admitted he'd been dumb to start that particular saga, said it wouldn't happen again (it didn't), and added he'd tell A about our talk. After I left that house, A finally pulled a maneuver dumb enough to get him kicked out, but by then he was not my stress-causer.
So that whole saga of my being taken advantage of flashed through my mind when I realized a week ago that someone was using my fan without my OK.
Why did I not react right away? It took a while to dawn on me, but it was this: I was expecting a fight. I was expecting an argument, with whoever took it saying "It was out in the open, no one's name was on it, it was hella hot in my place, what are you going to do about it?" I was expecting I'd have to get the building managers involved. I was expecting that maybe the fan was gone, taken out of the building by somebody, and unrecoverable. I was expecting it to get complicated.
Simplify, simplify, Chris.
So I finally reacted: I put a note in the front area everyone has to go through at least once a day, asking quite simply for whoever took the fan to bring it back. This morning, I found the fan outside my apartment. It's in there now.
My note's still up, with three added words: "UPDATE: Thank you."
See? Simple. And I feel better.
And honestly, if whoever took it had just frickin' asked permission in the first place, I'd probably have said "OK."