I have spent much of the last ten hours or so (at least, the hours I was awake) contemplating the Art of Being a Bastard.
A few months back, I picked up some new roommates. And there has be a . . . breaking in process involved. From everything I can tell, based on what they've said and what they've done, this is the first time that either of them have lived away from home. This despite this fact that they are both in their early to mid 20s. Until now, I think, they have always had someone to take care of them.
Well, I'm not their mommy. And I fucking shouldn't have to be. They are perfectly old enough to be able to function as adults in a shared apartment space. Most of the time, the things they've been doing have been fairly minor in the grant scheme of the universe. But it's my apartment - they just live there. I'm the only one on the lease, and they rent from me. I explained my basic rules when they moved in. Things like keeping music/movies turned down at night (that whole trying not to piss off the neighbors thing), putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher and no the sink does NOT cut it, wiping up spills and crumbs from the kitchen counter, floor, and dining table, if you borrow one of my DVDs return it promptly and put it back in the right spot (not that hard when they're all in alphabetical order). Little things. I do not expect perfect cleanliness. I can't manage that, why should I expect it from them?
Well, they haven't done these things. So, I tried talking to them. When that didn't work, I took to leaving notes. What that too failed, I moved into Bastard Mode. I took to placing dirty dishes and the trash they left out in their doorway (if you haven't figured it out, they are a couple and are sharing a single room). If this didn't work, my plan was to threaten to hire a cleaning crew and charge them for it. Fortunately, I don't think it's going to come to that. One of them confronted me last night about leaving stuff outside their door. My response was simply "Well, pick it up in the first place I won't have to." At which point I explained that the glasses and trash I had placed there that morning (it was now about 9:30 at night) had been sitting on the table for 3 or 4 days at this point.
The mere fact that it has annoyed them to point of confronting me means that they are finally starting to get the message. They now understand that I can be a bastard and I will make sure that do these things one way or another.
It is not that I especially enjoy being a bastard. Okay, I actually do enjoy it, but I do not like being forced into being a bastard. If I am going be one, I want to make it a deliberate choice to do so. And while there is a whole philosophical argument that I always have a choice, I'm not going to go into that. The point is that I hate it when I feel compelled to act a certain way because of the particular situation. It this case, I had the choice of: (1) ignoring the situation - which would have been a good choice because that would just add to my stress level, and I really don't need that and neither do the people around me; (2) continuing to play mommy and leave them notes asking them to pick their stuff - also not a good choice because that will only result in me being pissed off, again not good for me or the people around me; or (3) be a Bastard - it may not really reduce my stress, but at least I'll be having some "fun" in the process. I took option #3.
I actually have a philosophy on the Art of Being a Bastard. But as this post is already getting fairly long, I'll save that for maybe this afternoon or tomorrow.