Things That We Should be Able To Test But Aren’t Allowed To

Cars and bikes shouldn’t be the only things we’re allowed to test out

Photo by Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash

A house

Wait a minute!

How on earth am I allowed to test drive a car, but not allowed to “test stay” a house before renting it ? This one drives me absolutely nuts as it’s the first thing someone would think of testing before thinking about test driving a car or bike.

My house. My Cul de sac. My sanctuary of peace and quiet. The place I go to rest, recharge, and recuperate from the insanity of the world. The place where I’ll literally be eating, sleeping, bathing, studying, working, partying, procreating, and doing everything else under the sun. A place where I’ll be spending more than double the amount of time I’ll be spending in any kind of automobile. And for some unknown godforsaken reason, I cannot test stay it? This is crazy!

I’ll be spending the whopping majority of my life within this space. (No, it’s not the office any more, thanks to the pandemic). Yet somehow, by some crazy twist of fate, we all happen to be alive at the very moment in history that cars can be tested but houses can’t. Strange!

What if the neighbour has dogs that keep barking incessantly?
What if some others are judgemental freaks?
What if the area looks fine at first glance, but there’s a hell lot of yelling and fighting going on during the weekends?
What if the locality looks perfect during the summer, but gets inundated with dirty floodwater during the monsoons?
What if there’s a couple next door who keeps fighting all the time?
Or they have a bunch of noisy brats who just won’t shut up?
What if the water supply’s erratic?
Or the power keeps going out?

Or, what if you just have neighbours from hell?

That upstairs neighbour who likes to indulge himself in his home improvement hobby every Sunday? Yeah, no one’s going to tell you about that! That’s something you’ve got to find out about all on your own. And that’s something that can only be achieved by living there.

These nuanced things are what people generally don’t talk about. But it’s the minutest complications that prick the hardest. A leaky tap. A creaky floorboard. A malfunctioning lock. You can’t just ask the owner about each and every single aspect that you’d like to be informed about. Some things have to be personally experienced!

Before I moved into my new rental home, no one told me that the water pump had to be turned on manually every alternate day at a specific time. Not the landlord, not the neighbours, not even the broker! No one mentioned the garbage pickup times. No one told me about the full-blown gang war between the street dogs that takes place every night. And no one told me the bolt on the utility door was so old it made a loud thud every time I pried it open.

It’s only after I started to live there that I started becoming aware of these issues one after another.

Imagine having to put up with all that crap after sinking 9 months of rent as safety deposit into the owner's bank account, not knowing how much you’ll get back should you choose to move out just a few days or weeks into renting. Imagine having to pay the packers all over again to move your stuff out. Picture having to single-handedly move all your personal belongings which you so painstakingly moved from your previous place all over again.

The physical and mental agony of it all is just mind-boggling if I even start to think about it.

Anyway with all that being said, in a perfect world everyone should be able to test stay a house at least for a week to see if its to their liking regardless of anything else. After all, the house isn’t the only thing that matters. It’s about all the other secondary aspects too, such as the approach road, car parking, the availability of a park or lake nearby, the quality of the footpaths, the noise level of the locality, the availability of pharmacies, supermarkets, and eateries, and the proximity to main roads, bus stands, and metro stations.

There are so many other factors that play a significant role in the choice of dwelling.

Footwear

If casual shoes are what you wear for the majority of the day, you do realize that your feet reside in them, right?

Most of us own just two to three pairs of shoes for outdoor use, if not one more. Unless you’re one of those sneakerheads who are obsessed with shoes and have an entire cupboard dedicated to them, you most likely fall into the former category and own just 2-3 pairs of footwear. One for official use and one for casual use, and maybe one other for sports. Apart from these, you might even have a flip-flop or two lying around for short walks or for running errands. But that’s where it usually ends.

Barring sports activities, it’s usually the first two, either casual or formal shoes, in which your feet reside for the majority of their lives.

People come with a wide and varying range of arches and foot types.

One could have pronated feet, supinated, over-pronated, or even flat feet altogether. And different footwear come with different arches, heel heights, toe box and midfoot sizes. The kind of footwear that suits one section of the population needn’t necessarily suit the others. Which is why it is all the more imperative that we try out footwear which we intend to buy for an extended period of time before we make any kind of purchase decisions. Flat footers are especially vulnerable to shoe induced foot injuries since most shoes on the market aren’t made for them.

Comfort and functionality take top priority when it comes to all-purpose casual wear since your feet will be wrapped up in them all day long. But it really doesn’t matter whether it’s casual, formal, or even sport shoes. In a perfect world, people must be allowed to try out footwear for a sufficient amount of time before making the decision to buy them.

Choose the wrong kind of shoes for your foot type, and you could end up with blisters, bunions, heel pain, corns and calluses. Besides, good quality shoes which are long lasting and durable, especially the branded type, can be ridiculously expensive, with no possibility for refunds or exchange. This makes it all the more imperative that footwear brands allow their customers to try on their shoes for a couple of days before committing to buy them.

A job

Yeah you heard me right! Last I checked, we live at work, and not the other way round. A job is a place where most working class people will be spending the majority of their lives. Yet, it’s the very same place where they’re under constant pressure to perform and conduct themselves to the best of their abilities. How am I supposed to know what kind of environment I’d be expected to work in? Am I supposed to make the promise that I’d perform my best without knowing the people around me, the physical (and intangible) work environment, or the culture just going by the interviewer’s word and my own good stars?

What if I join an amazing team who’s great at work, but the team leader is a micromanager with an attitude?

What if I’m great at certain tasks, but not allowed to do them since there’s already someone allocated for them?

What if I am someone who’s an introvert expected to be team player in a team bounding with extrovert energy?

What if I’m someone who churns out amazing quality output in quiet and solitudinous environments, but is required to produce the very same quality in a noisy, cacophonous, and crowded environments?

Granted that in the end even if everything turns out perfect and great, there will be certain challenging aspects of a job which you will come to hate. There’s no denying that.

But what if there were certain non-negotiables that you just cannot stand due to which your time at the company exemplifies the term “hell on earth” ? What do you do then? You can’t just roll up your sleeves and leave a few weeks after joining can you? You’ll be held accountable to everything you promised the managers during the interviews. You’ll be held to targets and deadlines. You’ll have relationships to maintain. May be you got in through a referral from a close friend. May be it’s your uncles company. Or, may be a loved one wanted to get you into their company because they want to see you progress in your career.

You don’t want to box yourself into situations where you’d have absolutely no breathing space in any direction. It’s pressure cooker situations such as these that lead to depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies.

In his article about awful work environments, Peter Shanosky cautions applicants on applying to work with such toxic work environments, lest we dig our heels too deep and the toxicity has already “enveloped” us.

“Be on the lookout for the signs of these environments during your interview and throughout the onboarding process. It’s much harder to leave once the toxicity has enveloped you.”

A Marriage

Obviously liberal families are much more open to the concept of having long engagements (or even divorce), and are quite casual about it. But in many conservative and religious populations around the world, marriage is a sacred pact that cannot be broken. One is expected to stick to it for life no matter what kind of cards they’ve been dealt with.

It doesn’t matter whether you married your high school sweetheart or had an arranged marriage that was forged by your parents. You’ll have to stick to it for life no matter the challenges you face in it. Divorce is never an option. And if you resort to it, you’ll be ostracized by your community for committing such cultural blasphemy. Even in mainstream liberal cultures couples are constantly pressurized by family, friends, relatives, and well wishers to “put a ring on it” before they can even get to know each other sufficiently well. This puts an immense amount of stress on the couple to say “Yes” and commit to each other rather prematurely, which makes them go through enormous emotional and mental agony somewhere later down the line.

So regardless of the culture, whether you come from a modern liberal family or a strictly conservative orthodox culture set in their ways, wouldn’t it make much better sense to test the waters before you proceed to swim in it for life? Any couple must be allowed to take the relationship for a test drive for at least 2–3 years before they can make an announcement of marriage to their near and dear. This ensures there’s sufficient breathing room for each other, without feeling suffocated by the pressure of the entire world on their shoulders to get married quickly and start a family. As a side effect, it might even prevent a lot of harassment and suicides.

“For some people, six months into a relationship, they get engaged. Six months later they get married and then six months later they are pregnant. Eighteen months together is NOT enough time to know you’re compatible as partners and parents. It just isn’t. I have heard that it takes three full rounds of each season (three years) to get to really know one another. That’s a good rule of thumb.”

With so many variables involved with relationships, wouldn’t you want to avoid a lot of grief and agony by testing the waters first?

Test staying a house, taking shoes on a test drive for a couple of days, or taking a dip at the very shallow end of a job or relationship pool to get a feel for deeper waters must not be considered weird or absurd. After all, people acquire those things or get to such checkpoints in life to stay in them for the long term.

So wouldn’t it make much better sense to get a grim grasp of such things before committing them to them forever and then failing on such commitments?

Do let me know your thoughts in the comments bar to the side.

Legal Disclaimer: All the advice provided in this article is meant to be suggestive in nature, and not prescriptive. I will not be held responsible for any incidents that may or may not occur should you choose to follow any of the suggestions mentioned above and succeed or fail in your endeavours. This blog is informative in nature, and not a substitute for real life professional advice for the respective subjects in their respective disciplines.

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