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Dear Margo

Dear Margo column

Q. I’ve just started my second year of teaching (fourth grade), and I share a large, beautiful apartment with a colleague I’ll call Jill. A major problem has me upset, angry, and depressed just as I’m trying to get going into the new school year. Jill is a wonderful person. We teach together, go clubbing several nights a week, and have mutual interests, but Jill is very carefree and careless.

The other morning, she left to go shopping while I was working out on the treadmill. For the hundredth time, she left the door unlocked, and when I heard a noise, I went to investigate — but too late. Someone had broken in, and I was no match for him. Fortunately, he only wanted money, bank cards, etc., but he left me so tightly bound and gagged that it was impossible to break free. I spent several hours hogtied on our sofa struggling furiously until Jill came back and found me tied up, sweating, sobbing, and furious.

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Jill has profusely apologized for not locking the door, but needless to say, we are not amiable at the moment. I’ve considered moving, but 1)
I like it here, 2) I like Jill, and 3) This is a terrible time to move with the school year just having started. What would you do?

A. Jill sounds like one of your fourth-graders instead of a fellow teacher. To be so “carefree and careless” about repeatedly leaving a front door unlocked is unacceptable for a woman with a roommate. (If she lived alone, the only one to suffer would be Jill.) I would think finding a good friend bound and gagged would make quite a strong impression. Apologies are nice, but I think you now have the right to decree that the next time she leaves the front door unlocked means she will have to be the one to move out.
(I am hoping this was not her apartment first.)

Now that Jill has pretty well proved that her carelessness could put your life at stake, it is really not too much to ask that she get in the habit of locking the front door. It is not all that hard to make it a routine part of leaving the apartment. If you think she is really addled, you might tape a note on the front door saying “IS THE DOOR LOCKED?”

Q. I was happy to read the letter from the older woman writing about Facebook. I, too, am a dinosaur. My grandchildren talked me into joining FB. I got so much junk I couldn’t stand it. There were letters with pictures from people I don’t know and too much information about people I don’t care about. I finally got brave and discontinued FB. What a relief! I figure if people, grandchildren included, want to contact me, they can send a letter or an e-mail — and send pictures the old-fashioned, private way.

A. I’m with you, but with a slight difference. One of my kids is active on Facebook, so I learn a lot from following her page. I do this, however, with a made-up name so that I don’t get roped into my own Facebook life. (Twitter is bad enough.) The FB servers, however, clearly know my identity because they keep offering me friends ... from my address book. Privacy’s gone, but I like to pretend we still have some.

All letters must be sent via the online form at

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