Summer Shove

13 May

Letterbalm Beach Towel & ThongsDear LetterBalm: Good friends and I are sharing a house at the beach this summer. The house is huge with a lot of bedrooms, so there’s a big revolving group of people, some we don’t know with partial shares and others with full shares for every weekend. I just found out that someone who has serious social issues is being considered for a full share. She’s truly obnoxious (I shared a place with her two years ago) – she’s loud, spiteful and malicious. When she got drunk, she drove away several people that summer with her disruptive behavior, and she came on to at least two guys who were dating women in the house. She caused such a mess, she was asked to leave early. I need to alert people. What do I say?

–Sand in My Shoes

The lush days of summer rentals provide a yeasty microcosm. Many authors have written about golden summer experiences (starting with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tragic hero Dick Diver creating the first beach on the Riviera in Tender Is the Night). So, the summer-share process is very carefully orchestrated. Ms. L.B. says you should not delay. Contact the owner of the house or the person who is running the shares. They need to know about this potential summer-wrecker, and let them take it from there. (Be aware that they may do nothing, which is a matter for another LetterBalm.) Before you proceed, check with one or two others who lived through the summer with her. You may need to provide their collaboration so you come across as responsible, not disgruntled. Say this:  

Gerald, this is Athena Weiss. I have a full share/partial share in your house on Porcupine Lane this summer. My friends and I are very excited about the house – it’s beautiful, and we’re expecting a great season. But I have to tell you privately that I have concerns about Ava Smith, who I understand is being considered for a full share. I shared a house with Ava two years ago, and her behavior was so detrimental, she was asked to leave before the season ended. I feel uncomfortable about providing examples, but I’ll do so if you ask. I also can refer you to two others who shared the house with her when I did, and they will corroborate what I say. Understandably, you want the house to run smoothly; I regret to say I don’t think that will happen if Ava is a shareholder.


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