A Car Too Far

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 6, 2019

(I rent out a house with four other women, one of whom is my sister, who’s ended up not having the best relationship with the other two people. She’s never done anything outright horrible, but has an air of entitlement and does little things that bother us sometimes. One of the things that has bothered us the most is whenever she asks to borrow our personal cars. Hers was wrecked by her boyfriend two years ago and, since I sometimes have “no good reason” to NOT allow her to borrow the car while I’m using it, I’ve allowed her until recently. She’s never been in a wreck herself, but she always treats my car like it is her own garbage bin, always claims she needs it for an “emergency” when really she wants to go shopping, and never, never, NEVER tops up the tank. She once borrowed it for a full week without telling me until I confronted her about my almost-empty tank of gas. I always let her walk all over me until one day I put my foot down and set some rules, which doesn’t exactly work, so I take away the “deal” we never made of sharing my car, telling her to finally look for her own. What does she do? She goes and asks our roommates, of course. [Roommate #1] gives her a shot, but refuses after my sister is gone past one am and won’t answer her cell phone when our roommate calls to see if she is all right. [Roommate #2] gives her a hard no from the beginning. So, my sister has been forced to take a mix of public transportation and ride-hailing apps, despite having a valid license. I have always thought it was because she worked out it was cheaper that way, despite the passive-aggression she always throws my way whenever a bus is late during her route or the comments about how inconvenient it is to catch a [Rideshare]. That was all until [Roommate #3] moves in. Literally within the first week of settling in, while she’s playing a video game in the living room and [Roommate #2] and I are in the kitchen, my sister approaches her:)

Sister: “Hey, [Roommate #3]! Listen. Huge favor. Would it be okay to let me borrow your car?”

Me: *not thinking I heard right* “Wait, wha–”

Roommate #3: “Uh, sure? Why? When?”

Sister: “Oh, I was–“

Me: “[Roommate #3]! Seriously? You don’t have to.”

Sister: “She already said yes.”

Roommate #3: *raises an eyebrow at the both of us* “Um… Is there something I’m not getting? Do you, what, have a DUI?”

Roommate #2: *muttering low enough just for me to hear* “Nope, just her ex.”

Sister: “What? Are you f****** serious? Do I look like someone who would have a DUI?”

Roommate #3: “All right, sorry, jeez. But, yeah. Unless you have a history of f***** up cars–“

Sister: “I don’t.”

Roommate #3: “Okay, so, when do you need it?”

Sister: “I was thinking right now?”

Me: *getting up* “Okay, no. [Sister], that’s just rude to try and practically bully [Roommate #3] into giving you her car.”

Sister: “But she said yes!”

Roommate #3: *shrugs* “That I did. And sure. My key is the one with the green keychain.”

(My sister thanks her profusely and goes to get ready to leave while [Roommate #2] and I share a look, completely floored, not only over how brazen my sister was, but how careless [Roommate #3] seems to be. Ultimately, we just shake our heads and allow this incredibly poor idea pan out. My sister leaves, dressed up and ready to go… before coming back in, seeming annoyed.)

Sister: “You’re out of gas.”

(I try to stifle laughter over the irony.)

Roommate #3: “What?”

Sister: “I said, you’re out of gas.”

Roommate #3: “Did it not turn on? I put five bucks in it yesterday.”

Sister: *confused* “Er, no. I was able to turn on your car, but the gas gauge is basically sitting on the ’empty’ side.”

Roommate #3: “Ohhh. Psh. Yeah. It does that, but that baby’s got another couple miles in it. Don’t worry; it can make it to the closest gas station and you can just put in how much money you need for gas.”

(Note that this entire time, [Roommate #3] hasn’t even looked up from her video game to address my sister fully, who’s staring at her like she’s just grown another head. After a moment, my sister sneers and huffs out a “fine” before storming back out. A while later, while most of us are talking and hanging out, my sister comes in and hands [Roommate #3] a receipt.)

Sister: “Here. For the gas.”

Roommate #3: *looks at the receipt and eyes go wide* “WHOA! You filled the whole tank?!”

Sister: “Yes, and you can pay me back whenever yo–“

(She doesn’t get to finish the sentence and, thankfully, [Roommate #3] seems to never have heard it since she was too busy bolting up and almost tackling my sister to the ground with a bearhug.)

Roommate #3: “Thank you, thank you, thank you so much! You didn’t have to do that! You can borrow my car whenever you want!”

Sister: “…”

(It didn’t take long for us to learn that [Roommate #3] came from working-class parents where she picked up a lot of penny-pinching techniques and habits, one of them being to only pay for only the amount of gas necessary to get from point A to point B. She legitimately thought that’s how most people did it, and her mind was blown when she found out none of us made the “common, new-driver mistake” of running out of gas on the freeway from overestimating how much was left in the tank. This meant that eventually when all the gas my sister put in dwindled, [Roommate #3] kicked back into her old habit of just paying what she needed, confused as to why this had suddenly become a pet-peeve to my sister’s. Other than her unique money-saving tactics and her obliviousness, she’s become an awesome housemate. My sister made it through borrowing her car for about a month until [Roommate #3] confronted her about dirtying up her car — “I mean, you could pay for the car cleaning, at least? Then you can drive my car again. Fair?” — and she magically found her own money to get a used car, herself.)

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