Apparently this weekend was meant to be a lesson in “the principle.”
As most kids, in my pre-teen and teen years I was kinda selfish, I must admit. In some ways I still am. I didn’t like to lend people stuff because I never knew if they were going to take good care of them, and for me that was a source of distress. I consider myself to be a very responsible person, and you can be sure that if by some reason I need to borrow something of yours (on rare occasions do I ask someone for something) I will return it in pristine conditions. Likewise, I would just hate if you had something of mine and you returned it in any other way than the way it was when I gave it to you. Aside from that, earning the trust and respect of someone is a huge deal for me, so I always try to live up to that compromise.
I have a huge flaw: I forgive but I never forget. It is incredible how long something stays in my mind and how my subconscious never lets it go. I might never mention it again, but I sure will never forget it. In contradiction, I believe in giving people 20 chances after they fail me, because I believe everyone has to the right redeem themselves.
A few years ago I made a huge effort (I had a shitty salary back then) and bought myself a brand new Toshiba laptop. It was not a Mac, so it was doomed to have a tragic ending from the start (“The Curse of Steve Jobs”). Back then he was starting his dj business and I loaned him my laptop for his work, under the strict condition that it had to be returned to me that same day, no matter the time.
The first few times he complied, but then he stopped. When I complained, he said he hadn’t called because it was too late, but I told him that I didn’t care what time it was, he had to bring the computer back home. It was my computer, they were my rules. As Murphy has his ways, the second time he did it someone broke into his house and stole the computer. When my sister told me (he didn’t have the guts to), I got immensely pissed, even more because I had told him many times before that he had to follow my requests if he ever wanted to use the computer or anything of mine again. When I finally saw him the only thing I told him was that he had not followed my instructions and now I was screwed over because I still had to pay for the loan I had taken to buy the computer and I was going to end up with nothing to show for it. “You might think the world is yours, you might think you’re Mr. Know-it-all, but I’m older and wiser and I never say things without any reason.” He cried his eyes out, but I still had to pay a shitload of money for a computer I didn’t even have anymore.
Last year he bought himself a laptop with his own money. Needless to say, I was very happy about the fact that he was such a hard responsible worker and he had come up with all that money by himself, but I did have the “responsibility” conversation with him. “Look, I’m glad you worked hard and got the money to get it, but for future knowledge do remember you still owe me a computer and instead of getting one for yourself you should’ve first thought about the fact that due to your irresponsibility I sustained a loss that you, and only you, must pay me back for.” He said he was going to give the computer to me, but I refused because that was not the reason for the talk. I felt it was my responsibility to teach him a lesson, so that when tomorrow he becomes a man (whether he likes it or not, he’s still a kid) he will have the skills necessary to become a grownup and not just a man.
A couple of months ago he asked me again for my laptop. Everyone said I shouldn’t give it to him because of what had happened years before, but I said I believed in giving people chances and I thought he had learned his lesson. I gave it to him with the same instructions as before: as soon as the party ends, no matter the time, the computer shall be returned to me. Again this time he disobeyed me, but before I could say anything he told me he slept with the computer by his side, on the bed (my sister had told me that earlier that same day). I guess he just didn’t understand the principle, so I just let it go.
This weekend he had asked me for my camera because he wanted to take some pictures. I gave it to him, again with the same instructions: if you’re going to take the pictures in the morning, I expect my camera to be given to me that same day in the afternoon, or as soon as you are finished with it.
Sunday afternoon came and went, and no camera. Sunday night came and went and still no camera. Monday morning came and went… you know how it goes.
I try always to be in a good mood. Whenever I must teach someone a lesson, I try to do it calmly. Yesterday, though, with my rude awakening to find out I was going to be car-less I wasn’t in the best of moods, so when he gave me the camera A DAY LATER I felt the need to bitch at him. I didn’t care that he had slept with the camera between his legs, I didn’t care that he was just waking up, I had to tell him once more that I had my rules and that if he expected to use my stuff he had to abide by them. I had to bring out the stolen laptop episode once more, because I guess he still hasn’t learned his lesson yet. I can only think that, in his immaturity, he still hasn’t grasped the meaning of “the principle.”
Dude, it’s all about the principle…