We are a paranoid people, or at least I am. Maybe it’s justified these days with all the mayhem we see in the news. Maybe it’s a survival instinct.
Mistrust can spread like an airborne disease. Try this next time you’re out at a bar. Watch a sole diner, and say to your companion, “I think that guy is gonna dine and dash.” From that seed of distrust your companion will watch and notice things that aren’t there. The guy is shifty, every time he goes to the bathroom it’s to do drugs, when he exits to smoke your companion will start to stress out, “He’s making his move, holy shit, you were right.” Of course the guy comes back and pays and it was all a silly little experiment.
This stuff happens even with the best of friends. How many times have you had this dialogue, “Can I borrow your weed-wacker?” you ask. Your buddy says, “Yeah, but I’m gonna need it back.”
I’m gonna need it back. Of course, that was implicit in my choice of wording when I said “can I borrow”. Why is my buddy making me feel like I want to gank his weed-wacker? I haven’t stolen from him before, I just want to edge-up my hypothetical lawn, and he wants a deposit.
It is this subtle stomach ache of mistrust that we were raised on. I was always sure the cabdriver would drive off with my new purchase in the trunk, when I lived in New York. What would he want with a monitor for an outdated computer, but you know the feeling.
To be truthful, I still hold a grudge about a book I loaned out a year ago, and I never gave my buddy his Otis Redding CD back, so I guess I’m arguing against my own point, but can we at least leave out that nagging, twerpy, and accusatory phrase, “I’m gonna need it back.”