I am I packrat. Yes, I can hear my friends gasp in simulated shock whilst pasting surprised expressions on their faces. It’s true, though, and I get the packrat gene from both my mom and my dad, so I’m really doomed. I do try to keep it under control and somewhat organized. I will never be one of those people with the last 40 years worth of newspapers piled up in my hallway.
Where I am I going with this? Well, my packrat gene is the same thing that causes me to carry a pharmacy in my purse and keep a drawer of inappropriate starches (“Dollhouse” fans will recognize the reference) in my desk at work. Hey, you never know when you might be accidentally trapped in your office by hoardes of drooling zombies. It also causes me to pack an excessive amount of camping gear for almost any occasion.
That being said, people who never have anything useful to contribute irritate me. It’s okay if you run out of Advil or Halls and need to get some from me. I’m willing to do a snack food exchange if your chocolate granola bar doesn’t appeal to you but my bag of baby carrots does (yeah, cuz THAT ever happens). We do not need six bottles of ketchup, mustard and relish when camping. Well, maybe mustard.
I recall a camping trip once upon a time where one participant showed up with nothing. No tent, no bed, no sleeping bag, no food. Figured he’d “borrow”. Yeah, that’s great, except that I brought enough bedding to keep ME warm and comfortable, and I don’t intend to freeze because someone can’t plan, or at least call ahead and ask us to bring extra everything. I have no problem sharing my tent, it being huge and all (though it is common courtesy to ASK me rather than assume.) I do draw the line about sharing a bed – I’m pretty picky when it comes to bed mates, and like to chose those myself, rather than have them foisted off onto me. We ALWAYS pack way too much food, so sharing there isn’t really a problem. Beer, on the other hand, is sometimes grossly miscalculated – you might intend to only have a couple, but after the first six, who’s counting? And running out of beer because some freeloader didn’t bring anything but attitude is sure to irritate me. Who in their right mind shows up to camp empty handed (and then doesn’t even bother to pitch in on the cost of firewood or campsite)??
I also get a little cranky the same person is constantly dropping by to borrow drugs (Advil, Asprin, Contact C, Halls, Imodium, Pepcid AC Ex-lax and Gas-X, and that’s only since the beginning of the year) or bum munchies off me (I got smart fast – after the first 3 times, I started saying I didn’t have anything and I lock my desk when I’m out).
I thought sharing was a basic playground rule established early on. How do some segments of society actually wander around all day believing they are entitled to just take take take and never contribute anything back?