The Art Of Borrowing

<B>Steve Hartman</B> On Getting Away With It

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.

Zwickle: Really?

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.