Welcome to Thatz Not Okay, a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions (max: 200 words) to email@example.com with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."
A neighbour of mine in my condo building asked me if she could grab a spare key to my place to use my washer dryer because it's such a long process going to the laundry mat. (Ballsy move since I only know this person professionally, but we share many mutual friends.) I once let her use them before when I was working from home but found it really disruptive.
Even though I would be saving her time and helping her out I'm just not comfortable with someone in my place when I'm not there. Is that ok?
Will you feel a little awkward telling this woman clothed in dirty old rags, “Oh, I’m not comfortable with anyone else having a key to my apartment”? Certainly. But not as awkward as you would feel bursting into your apartment at 11 p.m. with a date to discover her transferring her duvet cover from the washer to the dryer.
Oh her? Not my roommate. Just a woman who lives in my building. I actually don’t know her that well.
There is no upside for you in this arrangement. Your house is no longer secure, you pay for someone’s laundry, and you’ve made a terrible friend.
You don’t owe it to this woman to grant her uncontrolled access to your apartment because you own a dryer. (Unless you have illegally set up camp in the utility room of your building and regulate entry like a troll guarding a bridge.) You have gone to considerable expense to avoid having to share your laundry facilities with other people. Getting to a laundromat is not an insurmountable task. You are not denying her access to clean water; only access to clean water to wash her brights in, that is located inside your locked home and paid for exclusively by you.
An interesting fact about your condominium is that washers and dryers are allowed there, as evidenced by the ones in your apartment. If this woman would like access to a washer and dryer in your condominium, perhaps she should seek to have a set installed in her own apartment.
You are not the bad guy for telling a professional acquaintance she can’t use your laundry. She is the bad guy for submitting an outlandish request that you could not help but deny. What would she ask for next if you gave in? Permission to use your shower because she realized she could save money if she stopped paying her waterbill? Permission to live in your apartment when you’re not around because her apartment can be kind of a drag sometimes?
You can ask a neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar. You can’t ask to borrow their sugar refinery.
I have lived in apartments without laundry facilities. You know what? It does suck. You know what else? That’s the end of that sentence. Sometimes things suck. Oh well.
My boyfriend and I are in love despite our wildly divergent movie tastes. He likes musicals and romantic dramas and I'm more into anything with an exploding helicopter. As such, we spend a lot of time at the Redbox finding something we both will enjoy.
Like, a lot of time.
Oftentimes a line will form behind us and I start to get uncomfortable when folks behind us grumble/look annoyed/etc. My boyfriend says that we can take as long as we want because we were there first. Taking five minutes or so at a Redbox kiosk: Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
It’s wonderful that you guys have found love despite your wildly different preferences for fiction consumed visually in 90-minute increments. STOP ACTING LIKE ASSHOLES.
The general policy in any sort of queue is to be as fast as you can reasonably be doing whatever it is you're queued up for. You don’t have to rush so much that you become flustered, but you also must not fail to realize there is a line behind you.
If there’s no one else in line, go ahead—spend a couple minutes flipping through titles. Otherwise, cap it at 90 seconds, max. If you want to spend longer, graciously step aside so that other people can go before you. “Haha, I think we’re going to be here for a while,” you say, knowing DAMN WELL you will be there until dawn creeps in on rosy red(box) fingers. “Would you like to go ahead of us?”
Your boyfriend is correct that you can take as long as you want at the Redbox kiosk…technically. Legally. It is not illegal for you to order a dinner, chew it up, and then spit it back onto your plate. It is not illegal for you to wrap your body around a subway pole. It is not illegal to inconvenience others at the Redbox with your dawdling. Being a dick is not illegal, except in two courts: God’s and Judge Judy’s. But just because you can get away with something doesn’t mean you should do it.
Speaking of God and Judge Judy, your boyfriend sounds perilously close to invoking the divine right of kings as justification for taking an hour—if you are waiting in line behind an arguing couple, five minutes passes as slowly as an hour—to pick a movie.
If God hadn’t intended for us to hold up the line, would He have let us get here first?
If God hadn’t intended for me to kill this randomly selected pedestrian, would He have let my hands wrap around his throat with such force?
You are correct in feeling it is rude to hold up a line of people as you hem and haw over which movie to watch later on the couch. Furthermore, based on your description of your film tastes, the perfect movie you seek—the one that will satisfy everyone’s requirements—does not exist. Perhaps you could find Predator: The Musical at a Redbox in El Dorado. Until then, either take turns selecting a movie or pick before you leave.
By the way, are you aware you can go to Redbox.com and see all the titles? You can even reserve a movie online and then pick it up once you get there.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE ALREADY STANDING IN FRONT OF THE REDBOX TO ACCESS REDBOX.COM ON YOUR PHONE.