Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rant: Unspoken rules

I was livid earlier last week, and hated it. Not for my anger (some displeasures are warranted if one's principles or priorities are compromised), but more because it reflected a poor call of judgment on my part, and even more because the party who caused it was so nonchalant that it made me question myself if I was being petty.

So here is the petty tale:

A colleague returned me a paperback I had loaned her some nine months ago, with the poor book looking much worse for wear than the condition in which I had passed it to her. Sure, it wasn't in mint condition, but I was also dead sure it didn't look like I had dropped it in a bath or tossed it into an empty check-in luggage for a 20-hour flight with three layovers in between.

The woman didn't even had the cheek to pass it back to me in person, but left it on my desk while I was away.

And we sit in the same room, mind you.


When I first saw the book on the table, it had taken a good five seconds to recognise that this piece of giam cai (dialect for salted mustard, a Chinese pickle that look like what a leafy veggie would look if you soaked it in brine for months - all wrinkly and scrunched up) is the book that I had, against my better judgment, loaned to her. You see, I am quite the selfish bookworm, I only lend my books to my closest friends. However, during a random chat, she was raving about the movie adaptation and how she really wanted to read the original book that the film was based on, and I thought, no harm since it wasn't exactly a prized possession. One should be a friendly colleague and trust other humans sometimes.

Big mistake. Pfft.

The aftermath: I spent a good half day texting and ranting about this to my closest galfriends, who were obviously equally appalled, and that helped soothe the ire a little - just this reassurance that I wasn't overreacting. These are people who take great care of their books, and handle loans with even more care and painstaking caution, from putting them in ziplock bags if they are commuting with these, to replacing a book if they so much as accidentally bent a tiny corner.

I started to understand why they say "Your vibe attracts your tribe." This was my tribe true and true, the fist-shaking bunch of book-lovers who cry murder if you deface a book with no good reason.

If you are shaking your head in bafflement while reading this post, please let me know. Not so I can explain to you the intricacies of what is wrong, but because we really need to reconsider our friendship (if I know you in real life). If we don't know each other, you can assure yourself that I am one of those annoying OCD types who is not worth knowing. :D

But yes, there you have it. There are unspoken rules that you may breach unknowingly in situations like these. There is no defense in saying "You didn't tell me this was unacceptable", simply because it is considered such a basic form of courtesy or respect for another being, that I didn't expect it necessary to state the conditions for a book loan.

If you don't understand that, you probably never will. *shrug*

And that's my petty tale. The irony? A few days later, a dear friend returned me a book she had loaned from me some 12 years ago. We used to see each other more often, but our busy schedules and her new and young family just made catching up much rarer in recent years. Yet, the book, which had gone through two house moves and raising three little infants/toddlers, was in the exact condition that I had passed it to her more than a decade ago.

You see now why I love my friends? 💕💕💕


imp said...

Hahaha. Come to the dark side of e-books. No further angst required. Teeeeheeeheee. Nobody can borrow it, and nobody can abuse it!

Wah, your friend's 12-year loan and return in pristine condition is ADMIRABLE. Plus two house moves.

nua-ster said...

haha.. tt reminds me.. imma wanna borrow that book wor.. lol! *leech*

b.muse said...

@imp: Haha I like e-books but still love hard copies!! Yeah galfriend was very impressive, I was so touched!

@nua-ster: pass to you soon! :D