New tenants moved into the apartment across the hall from us. Haven't officially met them, and with the group of folks that were helping them move, I couldn't tell who the new tenants were and who was just helping. And with the anticipation of meeting the new neighbors, a peculiarly-phrased question arose in my mind.
"Could I borrow a cup of sugar?"
My answer would have to be, "No."
I was more often faced with a similar request outside bars, or in smoking areas on base or on campus, "Could I borrow a cigarette?"
To which, I would still reply, "No. But you can have one."
American English is my primary language, and I feel that I am an above-average wordsmith in the company that I keep. That being said, there are numerous occasions in which certain uses of common words make me cringe. The aforementioned request for a sweetener leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Most people I know wouldn't bat an eye, but today it's about semantics.
What does "borrow" mean to you? For most people, myself included, it would mean using something that belongs to someone else with the intention of returning it. According to Merriam-Webster online, an auxiliary definition of "borrow" is
"To take and use up (something) with the promise to give back something of equal value"
Meaning, technically, "borrowing" a cup of sugar, or a cigarette, or any other consumable, is not incorrect phrasing.
But really, before you read that secondary definition, did you ever use the word "borrow" with that definition in mind?
I didn't think so. In any case, here's my photo for the day:
Last month's Day 3 post, Metal, shared a little story about my first apartment in Long Beach, and this month's Day 2 post is about my current apartment. Most folks would use the term "renting" in regards to living spaces, but renting is really just borrowing with a monetary exchange included.
Borrowing this place is a great idea for now because we don't have any kids or pets, and we don't know how long we'll be living here. There's a lot to consider when it comes to moving: jobs, weather, schools, timing, family, friends, the list is monstrous. But as of right now (with the exception of winter spanning across five months), we're right where we need to be.
We'll give it back eventually, but for now, it's home.