Today I got an email asking to borrow something important. It's the sort of thing we are all needing right about now, and a good planner would have already locked in one of these things for use in the next few weeks. However, for whatever reason, this person was in a bit of a pickle and asking for some help (I'm being purposefully vague here):
Her (to the group): Hey Guys! Does anybody have a widget I can borrow? I really need it, and I will only use it for two hours today. I could come and pick it up any time you say. Anybody?
Me (after waiting a bit to see if anyone else would bite): Okay, you can borrow mine, but I will need it back by the end of your two hours. You can come and pick it up.
Her: Great! I'm on my way!
So she came and got the item, and we were both very cheerful with one another about the whole thing. Before she left, she promised again to return in to me in two hours. I said "fine" and we parted ways. About ninety minutes later, I had this email exchange:
Her: Hey thanks for the loan! Did you want me to return this today? I was thinking I might keep it for about the next week, and then we'll be done, and I'll give it back to you? Would that be good?
Me: No, I need this today.
Her: Oh well, I promise I'll give it back. You don't have to worry about that. I just need a week.
Me: No, I use this every day. I need to have this back.
Her: Could we share?
Me: No, I use this every day twice a day, and that doesn’t leave any time for sharing.
Her: Okay fine.
She did finally send it back to me just barely in time for my afternoon class. I'm just dumfounded. This item is really nice to have, but it is by no means required. What would cause a normally rational person to behave like this? You can be sure I won't be volunteering to help her out in the future.