You live in a house with 10 other people. For years you squabble and bicker. You make and break allegiances, you take over control of different parts of the house and steal each other’s things. You Tommy are good at it – and eventually you also commandeered the garden, and the shed for your own purposes. You also steal the next-door neighbours garden, their green house and an allotment. One of your house mates Hans is stuck in an upstairs room – he has no access to the gardens and gets frustrated. He eventually breaks out from upstairs and makes a move on everyone else’s stuff. A huge house fight breaks out which everyone gets dragged into. Ivan who lives in the attic takes the brunt of it – but no one thanks him because everyone’s scared of spiders. Everyone has lost though – so while Ivan lost two legs and an arm, Tommy lost a finger, Hans lost a foot and a hand.
Once everything calms down – everyone gets together at a house meeting and decides it has to stop. The bickering, the stealing stuff. Everyone agrees that they’ll instead of being selfish will work together.
It works – and for 70 years nothing gets broken, nothing gets stolen. Of course, people still won’t go in the attic because of the spiders, and everyone still grumbles that Hans talks too loud, and François has monopolised the fridge, but it works. They all just have to agree to be a little less selfish and get along. They begin to plan big things together – they’re building a new garden shed and a bird bath, they have plans to put a gate in the fence but are not sure how high to make it – they still argue a little, but they don’t fight.
Tommy one day though decides that he’s fed up with the fridge situation, with the communal living, with sharing everything. He has a pang for his glory days of the past when he controlled everything past the clothes lines and beyond. He calls a house meeting and tells all the house mates they can shove it. He reminds them that he lost a finger for them (Ivan scoffs at this) – Tommy says he’s going to his room and he doesn’t want anyone else to come in. There’s a few confused looks – Patrick reminds Tommy that they have an adjoining bathroom – so locking that door might be a problem. François reminds Tommy that locking the door of his room will also prevent Tommy getting out – but Tommy is fixed on it.
Everyone tells Tommy that’s a sad choice but it’s up to him – they remind him that he did make a commitment to help finish the bird bath just last week, so ask that he honour his commitments.
Tommy refuses and starts going through the fridge looking for anything of his he can take back to his room.
As he slams his door Tommy bemoans how little ‘respect’ he’s had from everyone.
I wrote this in response to this telegraph article: