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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Sunday June 19 2011

I live on my own, but am now living in a household containing about six people, the “about” being quite significant.  You have to count.  There’s Goddaughter 2, Goddaughter 2’s parents, Goddaughter 2’s twin brothers, the Romanian couple who are here for a few weeks to cook and clean (her) and do house renovating (him), and now there is also me.  How many is that?  Eight!

Where I live, alone, things stay where they are put and remain as they are, unless I personally move them or change them.  But in a household with lots of people in it, nothing remains at it is or stays where you put it.  Do some stuff on a computer, turn your back, and when you return someone else is on it, doing something completely different and your stuff is gone.  Put a vital bag containing vital objects down on the floor somewhere prior to leaving for a vital event, and cue a family row about where the bag now is and who’s fault that is.  Numbers give deniability to the perpetrator, who in any case may genuinely not remember what happened.

In particular, this is why there is no fruit juice to be had.  Just coffee, tea or tap water.  Why?  Because when you buy juice, it is usually for you yourself to consume.  But, if you do buy some, you have to put it in the fridge.  You can’t just hide it in your room, because that way it will go off.  But, in the fridge, it immediately gets consumed by others.

Coffee, tea and also milk, are like public utilities, like water, that is to say.  Everyone wants a bit of it all the time.  There may not be as much milk as you might want there to be at any given moment, but it is unlikely to be entirely gone with no warning.  Nobody drinks several glasses of milk on its own.  (If they did that might change things.) But fruit juice is not purchased continuously, as an abundant public utility.  It is purchased in quite small amounts, as a personal luxury.  And it is liable (likely actually) to be entirely consumed by someone else, when, for instance, a posse of twins or Goddaughter 2 and a friend, or just one other greedy individual consumes three entire mugs of the stuff.

So even though Goddaughter 2’s dad likes fruit juice, he never buys it to drink at home.

Which means that I, like him, have to go out into the town if I want to drink fruit juice.

Sounds like hell. You don’t have to eat breakfast with them all as well, do you?

The juice thing sounds like a tragedy of the commons. The solution is private property. But what to do when other people don’t think your juice is your private property? Some sort of rule of law is needed. If you can solve this you may be onto something.

(You could try assuming the role of bad-tempered and slightly mad dictator...)

Posted by Rob Fisher on 20 June 2011

Unfortunately you are becoming reliant on the nasty socialist concept of a “public” fridge - go buy your own fridge for your room and put a lock on it or the door, then tell the others what you’ve done, tell them to buy their own juice, and, just the enforce the point, steal it from them.

You only need a little fridge for juice/beer, can be got for around £25-30.

Posted by Ian F4 on 20 June 2011

...or:
you can do as one of my former bosses did.
She signed and dated every piece of food or drink she put into the office fridge, then if next time she opened the packet in question and suspected the quantity diminished she made such a stinking fuss about it, kept nagging every employee with threats of immediate dismissal, that we sometimes joined resources and BUY for her an extra item in question so as not to experience the humiliation!

Posted by Tatyana on 20 June 2011

"I have a fridge in my hand-luggage. Can I leave it in, or must I take it out as I would with a laptop?”

In the first episode of season four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy had a college roommate who insisted on labelling every item in the fridge with her name, including each individual egg. As a consequence, Buffy spent the episode claiming that she had the roommate from hell. Buffy’s friends ignored this, but Buffy had the last word, and the episode ended with the revelation that the roommate was quite literally from hell, to which she was then sucked back.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 20 June 2011

Michael, that’s a comforting thought. I do hope that boss lady went back whence she came from.

Posted by Tatyana on 20 June 2011

The story has moved on.

Some of them read this blog.

Today, there was abundant fruit juice, and my guess is: there will be some left tomorrow morning.  Besides which, a private fridge would be an absurd expense, because I am only staying until Wednesday.

So, as for me assuming the role of bad-tempered and slightly mad dictator, I think I already did.

Breakfast is a croissant and coffee, real (i.e. French) and instant respectively, just as I like both, eaten at a time of my own choosing.  I wait until they are all done.

Supper is communal, eaten by all present.  I’ve not eaten so well in years.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 20 June 2011

"In the first episode of season four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Nonsense, Michael!  It was the second episode of Season 4.

Posted by Patrick Crozier on 21 June 2011

So, as for me assuming the role of bad-tempered and slightly mad dictator, I think I already did.

Well, you have probably managed a high score for passive-aggression, anyway.

Patrick: Yes, you’re right. The first episode was the one about that gang of vampire bullies who taunt Buffy for being a high school girl who is out of her depth in college. It wasn’t until the second episode that we met the roommate. I forgot that.

I will be off committing seppoku out of shame. Talk later.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 21 June 2011

Heh. That’s why I rarely buy cranberry juice anymore even though I like it a lot and it’s supposed to be very healthy. I get one glass of it then Number Two Son comes along and drinks the rest all at once like it was soda.

Posted by Lynn on 21 June 2011

By the way, students living in shared houses have solved this problem.

(Verification word: student62)

Posted by Rob Fisher on 22 June 2011

You must have been a student once upon a time Brian? And learnt to cope with all those infuriating irritants that occur with communal living?

Who’s had my sausages? They were my fuckin sausages! Who’s had it away with my...etc

My wife and I live in a fairly large house with 4 bedrooms, and throughout our lives friends and friends of friends drop in to stay. Sometimes for a night and sometimes a fortnight, and we always say… help yourselves to anything you need, but replenish the basics when you find them running low.

Well we’ve had some pig ignorant selfish bastards in the past, but generally speaking people take the hint. Some even do the cooking and washing up!

Perversly the one person who drives me nuts, viz a viz not being able to find things when you have left them somewhere specific, is my wife. She is very tidy and puts things that offend her satorial sense away out of sight. Trouble is, she never remembers where the hell that is!

And it is never somewhere logical either.

It’s a bloody lot of space to search when you are in a hurry, almost like a treasure hunt… Where would her squirrel like mind have thought to put it? But I love her to bits anyway :-)

Posted by RAB on 23 June 2011
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