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Ask Anyone

the milkman cometh

I work in an office with a shared refrigerator. Individual sandwiches and snacks seem to be left alone, but every time I bring in a box of soy milk it seems to disappear in 2 to 3 days. Since I only use it in a cup or two of coffee a day, this leads me to believe that others in the office are using it. I wouldn’t mind sharing if it was a two-way street, but the culprit doesn’t feel the need to replace what he/she takes. What is the best way to deal with these scavengers?


The Straight Skinny: You’re not going to solve this problem without a) some folks thinking you’re a little bit petty; b) being passive aggressive; c) denying yourself the pleasure of soy milk.

The best bet is to put a note on the carton that says “Please don’t use this. It’s mine.”

Or you can cut a used carton in half, set it on top of the fridge, and put a note on it that says “Contribute to the soy milk fund.”

Or you can stop bringing in soy milk altogether. Or, finally, you can just smolder at your desk, thinking about all those lactose-intolerant freeloaders mellowing their coffee on your dime.

The Barrista says: What are you doing putting soy milk in your coffee? In fact, why are you even making your own coffee at all? Coffee should be prepared by a trained professional skilled in the uses of steam.

And you see that jar there by the cash register? Tipping is not a city in China, you know.

Not Ann Landers says: Anyone who believes that an office fridge is by default, a communally shared fridge, must be some kind of godless socialist. Last time I checked, this was America people. Poor people and minorities didn’t go off to fight in Iraq so we could stand in SOY MILK LINES. They fought for OUR FREEDOM to laugh mercilessly as other people go thirsty. You should stand up for the right to a free and capitalist fridge. It’s not your fault your co-workers lunches can’t compete with what you’re packing. Show them that THESE COLORS DON’T RUN and “Liberate” their lunches next.

hello walls

I‘ve spent the last five years of my life cohabitating with a beautiful woman who owns my heart. Several times over the years, I’ve brought up the idea of marriage. Every time, she avoided the subject, and would say things like, “What we have is so special, why do we need some piece of paper like a marriage certificate?” Since love means being able to take people as they are, I learned to live with her lack of enthusiasm for matrimony.

Two weeks ago, she came back from a business trip. She walked in, set down her bags, poured a glass of wine, and said she had something to tell me.

She said that she needed a change, and that she would always love me, but that she and her boss had decided to get married. Last weekend, she moved the last of her things out of the apartment.

I now fluctuate between numb disbelief, raw anguish, and homicidal rage. Our apartment is permanently haunted by the memory of her. I can’t sleep, and I can’t focus on work. What can I do?


The Straight Skinny: There’s nothing to do, pal. Nothing but cry in your beer. She doesn’t want you anymore, and odds are your efforts to understand why that is will only make her want you less. It’s over.

But here’s the good news: It doesn’t matter. Your heartache is totally insignificant. The sun rises and sets, and your years grow shorter. How old did you say you are? Whatever the answer, you’re running out of numbers. Probably there’s someone else for you out there, someone who will, in the end, seem to you like a better match—because she (or he) is a better match, judged solely on the criterion that ideally you should mate with someone who actually wants you. Unlike your ex-girlfriend.

Don’t lose your job over this. Don’t start drinking heavily. Don’t move out of the apartment, if you otherwise like it and it’s a good deal. Don’t go changing things in your life that are good just because this one shitty thing happened to you. You don’t need to add to the list of things she robbed from you by sabotaging what you have left.

And, while it is perfectly acceptable to go find solace in the arms of another—country singer Lyle Lovett famously called one-night stands part of his grieving process—do not go marrying the first person who gives you the time of day, or who is taken in by your absurd, boring self-pity.

Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Please send your questions for our panel of experts to

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