The Uilenstede Law of Surprise
I returned to the Netherlands on a dim and overcast Friday evening, which was improved immediately by four of my closest friends meeting me at the airport. We hugged, laughed, headed straight to a bar for drinks, and spent the night catching up. I couldn’t have asked for a better arrival.
Mildly hungover the morning after, I had a chance to inspect the condition of my room in the light of day. Having sublet to another student for five months, I was expecting to find signs of inhabitance and perhaps a few items left behind. What I found instead was a treasure trove of oddities that told a story so bizarre, so delightfully random, that I don’t imagine I will ever come to fully understand it.
I found a bag full of underwear on the windowsill, accompanied by a pink cowboy hat
My subtenant had left behind a single shoe, that coincidently was the same size and make as the ones I owned. When asked if he meant to leave it behind, he replied “Ah, I didn’t have room for it”. Excuse me? So, you took just one of them? My list of questions continued to grow when I found a bag full of underwear on the windowsill; accompanied by a pink cowboy hat, pink wig, a half full box of firecrackers, and an empty box of mushrooms from the grocery store. Why, you may ask? Dear reader, I am as clueless as you are.
On inspection of my drawers I find a plethora of keys, none of which were for the door or my bike. What mysteries would these unlock? Beneath, I find used paint supplies—yet the room was not painted—and some more keys. Opening the fridge, I was greeted by about 15 different sauces: most were for fast foods, so at least my subtenant had left me well-equipped for my own student culinary endeavors. If you’re going to live as a student, sometimes you have to eat as one too.
What I took away from these discoveries was something I will name the Uilenstede Law of Surprise: if you’re going to sublet, be ready to graciously accept all that you may find on your return. Treasures beyond your wildest dreams may await, or perhaps just a bag of someone else’s underwear.