Sunday, November 29, 2015

Neither a borrower nor a lender be?

(written 11/25)
Off to Cape Cod! I do love the cold weather, beaches, lots of dogs, good fresh veggies, and, of course, my gal. I will miss being down here: there are still so many things to do: a teak handrail needs replacing

and so does the micro-cracked gooseneck fitting (connects boom to mast).

I DID just install a second solar panel: 100 watts for about $2.50/watt. The dimensions match my old 75-watt panel, but I have SO MUCH MORE POWER! Now my battery fills nicely even on partly cloudy days and I don't have to be nearly as frugal and cautious. Still, I worry about letting others use the system: I recall getting panels on our camper and my wife turning on EVERY SINGLE light at night, as if she had to use every watt we brought in... I thought the extra power income would allow us to live a comfortable and frugal life without running out or damaging the battery through complete discharge. Ah, the metaphors!

I am often taken aback at how different people take care of things differently: is this why I am uncomfortable about letting others use my boat when I'm away? What makes folks ok with lending their tools, cars, homes? Is it the stability and foolproof nature of the setup? Is it whether or not things are easily replaced? Maybe some examples in my life might lead to some clarity...

I am quite willing to let folks use..
>my kayak and paddles: cheap and tough and generic. Same for my hammer: very hard to screw it up....although they MIGHT lose it.
>sail sewing kit, but would fret about my one and only needle. If I had several, I'd lend one out happily.
>Some tools... although I fret and like to get them back soon.

I am reluctant to let folks use..
>my boat for sailing unless folks show proficiency or leave a replacement deposit: I don't think most folks would handle it competently.
>my power system unless it has automated protection (and it may: I should check.). I think it has too many things to understand for me to expect others to care for it well... and Peter found his battery flat and ruined after encouraging a neighbor to use it while he was away.
>my water supply as it is often hard to replace (I COULD tell them they need to supply their own by catching it with bucket and/or buying it... or that they will need to pay $2/gal replacement costs... or just shut off the tanks so others can not use it). I even wince if someone else wants to wash dishes on the boat as most folks use at least twice the water.
>my composting toilet as it can be hard to turn the composting handle. (I'm still learning how to manage the system)
>my boat, even moored, as I worry that they will let things get moldy and moist by leaving things open when it rains.

I notice that I worry that others will not care for my stuff well, will not look at the aspects as well as I might, will leave me regretting that I lent things to them. I think that I often create systems that require a fairly deep level of care, knowledge, and attention to work well... and other people would likely be sand in the gears. I've always created systems around me that take tinkering and time and I find that it makes me feel more connected to my life support systems, but realize that this is very personalized and not well suited for casual lending.

Could I create far more robust or generic systems, ones that work well for anyone, ones that protect themselves from abuse, ones that work well for ANYONE? Well, there ARE commercial systems that do this, so it IS possible. I'll have to ponder.

Heck, one easy thing to do would be to give folks a quick open-book test on taking care of whatever they want to use. Does anyone else have ideas, other than just nicely saying "No, this is my stuff and I don't trust others to take care of it. Please forgive my little psychological quirk."?

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