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One of my biggest complaints now that I’m a grownup is that grownups don’t act as grown up as I was led to believe they are.  This may be because I’m in a female-dominated profession and women can bring the crazy like no other, but I think I just may have been duped or deluded for most of my youth.  I thought that there was a certain point where you just grow up.  You start wearing a suit to work, disciplining children (not even just your own), buying property, and the wisdom acquired from doing those things made you a thoughtful and reasonable person.

I’m finding that that is not the case at all, and now I’m mad at grownups in general.

Of course, this blog is not entitled I’m mad at grownups, it’s entitled Why I’m a hypocrite (see above).  I’m a hypocrite because for all of my bitching to any poor sucker who happens to be within earshot about how lame and immature adults are (and how that’s the opposite of adult); I’m currently embroiled in a cold war with the woman who lives one floor above me about our shared laundry space.

The scenario:

Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs are subletting the apartment on the 3rd floor while my landlord is off on sabbatical.  Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs are from London and are unfailingly polite/ slightly condescending in that way that only English people can be.  Initially, Gentleman Scholar and I wanted to please them desperately and show them, somehow, that we too drink copious amounts of tea and have opinions about biscuits, but we haven’t managed to succeed at this, and it’s time we call it a wash.

When Gentleman Scholar and I moved into our apartment two years ago, the only other person living in the building was Elderly Neighbor.  Elderly Neighbor sends his laundry out, so we had the washer and dryer in the basement to ourselves.  We were told by our former landlady, that the dryer runs off of the  2nd floor’s (our) electricity.  To make it fair for everyone to use the laundry, the other tenants would leave $1 for each tumble for the 2nd floor people to take.  Works for me.

When landlord (new landlord) sent us an email detailing his exotic sabbatical trip and giving us some info on our new subletting neighbors, he included the line “I told them about the washing machine.” This made no sense to me, so I ignored it, and continued to ignore it until Mrs. Upstairs came knocking on my door one afternoon asking why I plugged the washing machine into 3rd floor’s outlet.

I blinked at her like a moron until she explained that we were supposed to plug the washer into our outlet (neatly labeled) when we were using it, and she would plug the washer into her outlet when she was using it.  So that’s what the line in the email meant.  Then I explained to her about the issue with the dryer, and I thought we were fast friends.

Then her husband started leaving the back door to the building unlocked and sometimes wide open, on more occasions than I can count.  I never see him, so I mentioned to Mrs. Upstairs that while we live in a safe-ish neighborhood, we also live in a neighborhood with a lot of burglary, and I’ve already been robbed–didn’t like it.  She was contrite, I felt like a total Hall Monitor, but her husband continued to not lock the door.  I then emailed landlord who was in a Chinese hospital with dengue fever, and he said he’d email then with a gentle reminder.

After that, it was just one tiny thing after another.  These are mostly petty grievances that I feel like a crazy person bringing up, but that really irk me nonetheless.

  1. Mrs. Upstairs does a ton of laundry, and only puts a dollar in for the dryer for about every four tumbles.
  2. They only dig out their own car in the winter and didn’t help with any of the common areas or the sidewalk.  There was actually an exact line where they dug their car out just enough so they could leave.  We dug out my car and that of Elderly Neighbor, and shoveled the sidewalks.
  3. They keep shutting off the lightswitch to the outside motion sensor light, so when I come home from work at 10:30, I have to fumble for my keys in the dark.
  4. They piled a bunch of baby accessories up against our storage space door, then when we moved it out of the way, they put it back.
  5. They left a length of hose lying in the middle of the basement floor for a week, and then set it on my treadmill (that’s just baffling–we have no yard).

I’m sure they have plenty of stuff to be irked with us about too, but now my big grievance is that Mrs. Upstairs has started, inexplicably, using my laundry soap.

I noticed this the other day because the cap on mine was missing.  For some reason, she apparently fills the cap with soap and throws that in the wash with the clothes.  I took her clothes out of the washer to put in mine, and replaced the cap.  Later on that day, cap was off again and this time is lying on the dirty floor.  Afer consulting with Jewish Friend, I decided not to knock on Mrs. Upstair’s door and ask why she’s using my soap, but instead secreted it away in our storage space.

I’m contemplating leaving a passive-aggressive post-it on the outside light that they keep turning off, but I’m not sure how far I want to take this.  With each further action, I hate myself a little more.  When I was hiding the laundry soap away in the storage space, all I could think was “Why am I doing this? Who does this!?!?”  But it’s my soap!  If she needed to use some, she should have asked!

Maybe I’m spending too much time at home?  Maybe the rules of libraryland have started to affect my downtime, or maybe you just shouldn’t help yourself to other peoples’ laundry soap and then leave the cap on the ground.

Addendum: Turns out satire once again nails it.

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1.

There is a woman who comes into my place of work who has been calling me Jen for about four months now.  The first time she said it, she was walking quickly past my desk and threw out a pert “Hi Jen!”

I responded to the “Hi” part before I realized that she had called me Jen.  From then on, every time she came into the library, I would get either a “Hi Jen!” or a “Bye Jen!” I kept waiting for situations to present themselves that would straighten this out without me having to do anything about it.  I thought the time that she saw both Jen and I sitting at the desk together would clue her in, but she actually acted as if she had never seen me before, let me answer her question, and then an hour later said “Bye Jen!” as she was leaving.

I’m just leaving this alone.  The funny thing is, I don’t think she ever even talks to Jen, but I might be wrong.

2.

There is a woman who lives along the route that I run every day.  No matter how early or late it is when I run by, she will be on her porch, sitting in a plastic chair, wearing what looks like a nightgown, smoking.  Occasionally, she has with her an oxygen tank, but she’s still smoking.  I run outdoors year round unless the sidewalks are so clogged with snow that they’re unpassable, but she’s always out there, smoking.  I wonder now if we’re friends just because we’ve seen each other so many times.  I imagine that she either admires me or loathes me.  Maybe she’s lonely and wishes I would stop and chat; maybe if I tried to stop and chat, she’d throw her lit cigarette at me.

I think I’m going to phase in a friendly smile and possibly a head nod, just to see what kind of a reaction I get.

3.

There is a man who comes into my library and thinks that the two of us are best pals.  I don’t know his name, but he knows mine and has asked me out.  When I turned him down, he elected to keep me in “the friend zone” much to my dismay instead doing the thing where he awkwardly avoids eye contact or (even better) goes to a different library.  He keeps me up-to-date with what’s going on with him, even as I try to appear incredibly busy; and often pauses for long stretches which I assume are times for me to ask questions about whatever he’s prattling on about at the moment.

I refuse to ask questions.

Unfortunately, he is not dissuaded by my lack of question asking, and carries the conversation all on his own.

I’ve now taken the approach where I am trying to convince him that I’m a terrible human being.  This seemed like a logical next step after refusing to ask questions about his health or diabetes even when he would say things like “I’ve been having some health issues lately… was in Boston for a few days, that’s why you haven’t seen me.”  I put this new plan into effect when he recently asked if I had big plans for the weekend.

“I’m running a 1/2 marathon on Saturday.”

He then launched into a description of physical feats that he’s engaged in–mostly 5ks, it’s important to stay fit (he’s at least 40 pounds overweight).  Then he asked if I was doing it for some kind of charity.

“You mean, like am I raising money for cancer or something?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Oh absolutely not.  No way.  I just like running and getting medals.”

Then I waited, hoping that he would be incredibly disappointed in my lack of human decency, but he thought it was hilarious.

I need a new approach.