This week's commentary is by 60 Minutes II Columnist Steve Hartman.
I want to talk about people who are always borrowing stuff. I've always hated loaning pretty much anything – movies, pens, jumper cables.
These are low-cost items, so get your own. That's always been my policy. But something happened recently that changed my whole perspective on this.
I bought a house.
After nearly 20 years of apartment living, I realized you need a lot of stuff to take care of a house.
And all I had (currently) was what the previous owner left in my garage: a dustpan, a sponge mop with everything but the sponge, and a personal flotation device … which brings me to the doorstep of my new neighbor, Renee Zwickle.
As far as she knew, I was just stopping by to say hello, but my real motives were far from neighborly.
Hartman: It's amazing all the things you need when you have a house.
Zwickle: Oh, absolutely.
Hartman: I had no idea.
Unfortunately, you can't come right out and tell someone you'd like an all-access pass to his or her garage. Being a mooch requires delicate probing.
Hartman: You've got a lot of chairs. You don't use 'em all, right?
Zwickle: Yea, we do. I throw a lot of parties
Hartman: Oh, OK.
Obviously, I'll be buying my own deck furniture, which is fine – especially after getting a look at this borrower's paradise: mowers, weedwackers, and extension ladders.
It was easy to get carried away.
Pets not withstanding, she's really a giving person.
Hartman: If I want like a cup of sugar, that wouldn't be a problem?
Zwickle: I'd give you a 5-pound bag. … I absolutely would.
Hartman: If I needed some flour?
Zwickle: What are neighbors for?
Hartman: If I wanted you to bake a cake for me?
Zwickle: I might.
Now, that's nice – so nice, I even revised my no loaning policy.
Hartman: If you ever need a dustpan, come right on out. I'm your man.
Hopefully, she'll forgive me for coveting her lawn implements and such. Of course, if next time I see her, and she tells me to go jump in the lake – at least I have my personal flotation device.
Copyright 2004 CBS. All rights reserved.