Last summer, my camp counselor told us that she couldn’t find her sweatshirt – an iconic, very cool sweatshirt that everyone sort of coveted. She asked everyone if they had seen it and everyone said no. Fast forward to last week, when I saw one of my cabin mates wear it to high school! Should I call her on it? Tell the counselor? This is so aggravating.
Not a Spy … Yet
Clearly, not everyone at Camp Sticky Fingers has the moral compass you do. I applaud your indignation. Your cabin mate made an extremely bad decision (even though I can 100% see the temptation of really, really, really wanting the very cool sweatshirt of a very cool counselor), and while it’s not the first time a teenager did something stupid, it still needs to be addressed.
Confronting her takes a certain amount of chutzpah that some people don’t have. However, if you choose to take matters into your own hands, you can always say, “Hi Cindy, I see you found Andrea’s sweatshirt! I’m sure she’ll be so relieved to get it back when you send it to her!” That way she knows she’s busted.
If the idea of confronting her makes your skin crawl, I would contact your counselor and let her know where her beloved sweatshirt is. She can take it from there. By the way, one great thing about the internet is that you can have almost anything replicated. Maybe the girls from your cabin can figure out a way to reproduce the sweatshirt so that everyone can have a super cool sweatshirt without stooping to the level of Lupin.
I know all my roommate’s business because she talks on the phone in our apartment (loudly) all the time. But she doesn’t talk to me about it. Can I comment on what I’ve overheard to her about her life?
Biting My Tongue
Keep biting! Unfortunately for those of us who love to give advice – ahem, ahem – most of the time, I’m here to tell you, no one wants to hear it! And I do mean no one. Unsolicited advice is like the Carolina Reaper, the world’s hottest pepper. A few people on earth can tolerate it and it makes everyone else’s head explode.
There are ways to dress up advice so that it looks like compassionate creativity, like “Something similar happened to my cousin Bumpy and she found it helpful to …” or “I’m so sorry you’re going through that. If it were me, I might ….” But you really wanna stay away from “You should …” or “Why don’t you …” etc. Friends and roommates, like children, need to make their own mistakes. Now, if they ask you for advice, obviously, that’s different (but even then, tread lightly!). But just because you happen to be privy to private info doesn’t mean you can opine about it. Besides, then I’d be out of a job!
How gray does my hair have to be for one of my neighbors to offer to help me shovel my walk? Also, the other neighbor with the snowblower … would it be so hard for them to do one more walk?
Gabby, I’m Crabby
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all lived in Mayberry! I would love one of Aunt Bee’s pies right about now and surely Opie would happily grab a shovel and help you out, screaming, “I’ll be right back, Paw!,” as the screen door slams shut (was it ever even winter in Mayberry?). But in the absence of help from Opie, Goober or Gomer, those of who don’t live in Mayberry are SOL. On a side note, I actually lived in a town once – true story! – where a neighbor’s kid, maybe 10 years old, volunteered to shovel our walk and when I paid him (I think it was $3), he actually gave the money back to me!
But Crabby, you are not in Kansas any more.
Of course it would be nice if one of your neighbors offered to shovel your walk or better yet, use the snowblower on your driveway. But unfortunately, your neighbor might not know about your bum knee or your bad hip. Fortunately, you live in the great town of Evanstonberry and the city has a volunteer shovel brigade! (They always need volunteers by the way.) Call 311 for the deets.
If that doesn’t work out, my advice is to find a strapping young 13- or 14-year-old and offer to throw some green their way. If that doesn’t work, call one of your snowblower-owning neighbors and see if they can snow blow in exchange for something you can provide … maybe raking in the fall, baked goods or a hot toddy? If even these ideas don’t work, you may have to find a service. But, if you do, maybe your other cold-hearted neighbors will be interested in joining you so that no one has to shovel at all. That will leave lots of time for snow angels, snow men or watching reruns to see if Otis ever sobered up or Thelma Lou ever settled down.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.