I realised today that the loft boards I bought for my old flat’s attic have been left inadvertently for the new tenant. I’m not bothered. The thirty odd pounds I spent to floor a small part of my attic was money well spent in my opinion. The investment cost of the boards more than paid for itself, just in letting me store my possessions that little bit closer to where I was living. Hopefully the new tenant can make good use of them.
I’ve moved around a lot in my life. I have always rented my abode, except for one short time period where my second wife and I bought our first home. We were very proud of that house, that although it was small, was ours. As our daughter grew, she was a baby when we bought the house, it suddenly became even smaller. That combined with a school catchment glitch necessitated selling our home and re-entering the “rental chain.”
When we left that house all our possessions came with us. Probably the only time in my rental life that I haven’t left some of my “bits” behind. Looking back at my life of renting, I realise that I’ve left literally thousands of pounds worth of bits behind. Whether it’s been odd tools that I didn’t need any longer or just loft boards, I always felt fine with leaving them for future tenants to use or discard as they wished. Many places I rented had little things left behind by previous tenants. Some of the abandoned things were quite macabre.
My first wife and I were desperate for a bigger place in Southern California. The manager of the apartment complex next to us came knocking on our door late one night. He knew we were looking for a bigger place. He told us a vacancy had just come up. When I enquired about the timing -the middle of the night- he explained that the previous tenant had committed suicide. After the police had finished their investigations and the next-of-kin had collected his belongings, the place was ours if we wanted it. We moved in soon after and I found a brand new razor in the bathroom. I called his family and they said do what ever I wanted to with it. I kept it and used it for years, money was incredibly tight in those days. My “dead man’s razor” my first wife called it.
I know it probably seems like I’ve wandered from the subject a bit. Worry not, I am right on track. You’ll see.
The bits we leave behind us, whether on purpose or inadvertently, are parts of us. I don’t just mean the odd hammer or bits of lumber we voluntarily leave behind. I talking about the bits of us left behind that leave an impression. Somewhat like the over-used “carbon footprint” adverts, we leave footprints when we leave a place. It’s much nicer to leave a footprint that says, “You know he was a really nice chap.” or “I didn’t realise how helpful that fella was.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not begging for folks to remember me well after I’ve gone or even to remember me at all. But given a choice, I would prefer that the bits I leave behind are good ones. Bits that leave a good taste in the recipients mouth, versus a bad one.