I’m very sorry that your book is gone and I can understand the anger. Yes, I knew it was very special and noticed all the underlined passages. No, I did not know you had had it for that amount of time.
Having said that, and even knowing I should not bother to say these things because they will not fix anything, I still feel compelled to defend myself because I believe myself to be a meticulous, detail-oriented, thoughtful person and I deeply resent the accusation that I am the sole cause of this situation. It’s not fair. I am not the only reason the book was lost, and I feel very angry about being blamed.
1. The book was something you offered me to read while I was visiting. Please keep in mind that it’s not like I asked to borrow something and was careless. That was not the situation at all. I didn’t create the situation. I feel that would be ten times worse. You lent me the book of your own volition. Which leads to point #2.
2. If I had a precious possession like a necklace or a tablet that I loaned someone when they were staying with me, I would not wait 5 months to ask about it. Even before they left, I would have asked about it. Especially because that person was a guest in my town and very probably busy with kids and packing and keeping track of everything, I would cut that person some slack and understand that this thing that they did not expect to have in their possession might slip their mind. So, I believe that the responsibility was also on you to check back in a timely manner about the book. You said you were missing it so much and kept reaching for it. It stands to reason then, that at any point in time, you could have checked up and asked for it back. Had you simply asked to make sure I had it within three months of our visit, we could have communicated and solved the problem.
3. In addition, it did NOT slip my mind. I am upset that Michael and I remember making a plan, and I know 100% for a fact that this occurred, but because neither you nor Jennie remember this, I am left holding the bag. I will never convince you or Jennie that this communication took place; if you two don’t remember it, you don’t remember it, and why would you believe me. But think about how detail-oriented I am. I am so anal retentive about details that I imagine it even annoys you sometimes. How then, would someone so detail-oriented as myself simply “forget” to close the loop on a plan to return an item to you? If you think I would forget about something like that, then you don’t know me very well. I definitely remember leaving the book at the front, and I was wishy washy before because I didn’t want to get into the blame game, but because I feel forced into it now, I will say that I know Michael called Jennie to tell her the book was at the front desk, that it had her name, and she said she was going to be in the area for some reason or other, and she could swing by that week and get it. I am not making this up. Jennie simply does not remember. Why would Michael and I leave a book at the front of a hotel with someone’s name if we didn’t tell that person to get it? It makes no sense. So to accuse me of being careless and not communicating and making a plan is simply incorrect.
I hope that from these points, you can understand how all of this feels to me: that I was loaned a book I wasn’t expecting and blamed for losing it after I came up with a plan to get it back to you, and the person I relied on doesn’t remember the plan, and the person who loaned me the book didn’t ask about it for half a year and also didn’t remember herself to get it back at the hotel before we left. There were a couple times the problem could have been prevented by you, and one time by Jennie, but somehow it’s all my fault.
The only flaw in my plan was that I didn’t count on Jennie being busy and forgetting about the conversation. I don’t blame her for that; I understand how things get busy and it’s easy to forget things people ask of you, whereas it’s easier to remember when you’re the one doing the asking, and I definitely remember. As far as I knew, I trusted that the plan was simple and taken care of.
The one thing I could have done better was to follow up with Jennie on whether she picked up the book. That quality assurance step would also have prevented this problem, and I’m sorry it didn’t occur to me to do so. Once I thought the issue was taken care of, it was out of my mind. Given the number of things I try to do perfectly, it is unfortunate but this is the one thing that I neglected to do, and I admit that could have been done better. But I believe many people in my shoes would also not have thought to do this step, and it’s a human, understandable oversight.
I can say it another way to make this clearer from my point of view. Imagine that you visited SF and stayed in a hotel, and while you were here, I gave you my Android tablet and said it’s really cool, you should play with it a bit, there are lots of cool apps. Then even though I visited you in the hotel the night before you left, I didn’t think to ask for the tablet back. When you left, you were late for the airport and called Michael to arrange picking up the tablet from the front desk. Then you went home and assumed Michael – your own son whom you trust – was going to pick it up.
Then nearly half a year later, I ask you to give me the tablet back, and you say you left it at the hotel for Michael to retrieve. I ask Michael, and he says you never had such a call and I believe him, not you. And then I emailed you a letter blaming you for the fact that my tablet was gone, and I’ve been missing it for the past 5 months, and saying you should have been more careful with it, and accusing you of not getting it back to me. And I continue on that to you, it’s just an tablet that can be replaced with money and maybe it’s not that interesting to you, since you’re not a computer person, but actually that was a tablet that I had upgraded and customized myself so it was very special to me – didn’t you notice the customizations? How would that scenario make you feel? Probably badly that you didn’t check with Michael after you returned home, but also probably pretty mad that all of this is now your fault and you’re accused of being careless when you didn’t even ask for the tablet in the first place, and you DID make what seemed to be a solid plan to return it, and that it took me a half year to follow up with you.
The difference is that if this scenario were real, I would have emailed you to ask about the tablet the week after you landed because it was precious to ME, and if that also slipped my mind, then certainly the first time that I found myself missing it after that. I wouldn’t email YOU, blaming you for not putting more thought and care into how you returned it for me, especially when I didn’t even remember to ask you for it when I saw you face to face at the hotel before departure. I hope this scenario makes you understand how your email feels to me.
In the end, while you’re angry from the loss of the book, which is understandable, I do wish that you wouldn’t be so quick to place blame and point the finger, especially to someone as conscientious and careful as I have always been. It just adds a negative vibe that I’m not sure how to get rid of to an already sad situation.