I mark my initials on the food and food stuffs I store in general spaces. I do this for one reason: to remind myself that a particular food item is mine. I don't actually care--don't, don't, past and present roommates know all too well--if other people use/eat/feel comfortable giving away my food and food stuffs. In fact, actually, it makes me feel complimented. That they would think something I would choose and buy would be something they would want. (For instance, Karren and my dark chocolate-covered soy nuts. Totally complimented that she would want to snack/sneak them. No sneaking necessary.)
So I don't mark my food with my little swirly SO to keep others away. I SO it so that I will (1) know that I can eat/use it with impunity. (I've learned I naturally feel too comfortable with communal living and being free with other people's things, so I usually feel a little guilty/doubtful about eating/using food and sugar and spices that aren't marked or aren't mine, though, though, here at Melville I usually do it anyway.) Also, (2) so that down the road, down the road, when the food item is unclaimed and/or moldy and forgotten, I will see it, know it, and take responsibility for it. ("Whose rotten grapefruits are just sitting on the counter, fruit fly breeding? Gross. Oh wait. Those are mine.") This often, often comes in handy.
Once, Karren and I were cleaning out the fridge, and in the condiments door, we came across a lemon juice container. It was small, yellow, plastic, lemon-shaped. Classic and, from its lack of luster, mature. We picked it up and there, on one of its curved sides, was a swirly little SO. Mine, we guessed. And then we turned it round and there, on the other side of the same lemon container, was a smart, dark, black permanent marker KT. SO. KT. Both on one lemon.
I have considered that lemon-finding moment for the past, oh, seven months. Still, I CANNOT FATHOM HOW SUCH A THING HAPPENED. And I wish, wish, wish, we could rewind the living and replay the moments when I thought it was mine and SOed it and when Karren thought it was hers and KTed it and when it was bought and who paid.
My point: I love this story. And despite its being about lemon juice, I think it's very, very sweet.