Taking for granted.


My husband’s high school classmate, whom he was neither close to at school nor have seen for almost thirty years, came here for a business plus pleasure trip. Let’s call him Tom for ease of identification. Tom indicated to my husband that he was looking for cheap places to stay. My husband was toying with the idea of inviting him to stay at our house. I told my husband that our house was kind of messy with toys everywhere and our kids not very well behaved. In addition, he might accidently let our cat out while we were not home. It might be somewhat inconvenient to have him stay with us; however, I won’t object if my husband truly wanted to invite him to stay. I am glad that my husband did not and there is a good reason after we met this classmate of his.

On his first day here, we took him out for dinner. I was somewhat surprised of his attitude. He didn’t offer to pay his portion of the meal nor express any gratitude for our treat. I thought that it is a common courtesy to at least thank someone for the treat or to at least pretend to want to pay for his portion of the meal. At the meal, he talked about his business trip and someone he really wanted to see in his trip. It happened that we knew that person, the only Taiwanese we know in Minnesota. Let’s call that person John. Though we were not very close to John, Tom pressed my husband to call him. His entire conversation at the dinner table was when we could get a hold of him. We didn’t have luck reaching John that night.

Tom was going to check out of the hotel the next morning. When my husband called, he pressed my husband again to call John. We didn’t have any luck either. Tom told us that he planned to rent a car that evening and head to Wisconsin. After he checked out of the hotel, we took him out to Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata for sightseeing and then suggested heading to the restaurant for lunch. He stated that it was too early to have lunch. Yes, it might be early for him since he came from Taiwan and stayed in California for a few days but it was already noon and it was time for our kids to eat. Anyway, he said nothing again when we treated him. No appreciation for the treat or for the time we spent with him. After lunch, we took him to Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior. The wind was really strong and it was pretty chilly so we headed home. When we got home, Tom pressed my husband again to call John. John finally returned my husband’s call and indicated that he had time to talk to Tom after 7:30pm. It was 2:30pm then. Tom sat on the chair, chatting with my husband, with no intention to leave or pick up the car. Listening to his conversation, I could only say that he was really full of it. He kept bringing up all the connections he had. So what? It didn't matter to us. He was also pretty headstrong in some of his opinions.

Time went by fast and it was 5pm. I was going to heat the leftovers for our family but now with this unexpected dinner guest, I didn't know what I should prepare. I have leftovers from two days which I didn't feel presentable. I finally brought out the leftovers from the dinner we had with Tom the day prior and added two dishes of stir fry vegetables. I thought to myself was he going to stay at our house next without asking for our approval.

We finished dinner at around 7pm. We knew that his whole intention was to wait to make that call at 7:30pm. Tom told my husband that he needed to buy some fruits and water but could wait until when the kids were asleep. My husband suggested that they could purchase them right after dinner as Tom would still have time to come back and make that call. Finally, it was time for Tom to make the call. My family sat in the living room watching my son playing Wii. I asked my husband when Tom would end his call. It was already past 8pm. Finally Tom ended the call and came to the living room to join us. I asked him when he was going to pick up the car. He told us that there was no hurry and he could wait until we got the kids to bed. I said to him that the car rental company could have closed by then. My husband told Tom that he didn’t want to go out too late at night as he had to work the next morning. Was Tom thinking of borrowing our car? He did mention that while he stayed in California, one of his high school classmates let him borrow the car. To be safe, my husband checked the car rental company he mentioned and it turned out that the car rental company was closed on Sunday. I was surprised to learn that he did not make any car reservation. My husband told Tom that they could go to the airport and get a rental car. Finally, we were able to get him out of our house to the car rental company.


I talked to my husband about this whole episode and how inconsiderate of Tom. My husband thought that was kind of a common trait among male with an engineering degree in Taiwan. I told my husband that Tom was burning his own bridges for the bad impression he had left upon us. He is not going to expect us to be his host if he ever comes here again.

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