Friday, August 10, 2012

"What a stupid thing to suck at"

Sometimes I do odd jobs and errands for a friend of mine. She wanted to thank me for some stuff I had taken care of for her recently so the other day she made the following offer...

"Hey, I want to hook you up with my cleaning lady."
"You want me to go on a date with your cleaning lady? That's weird but I'm into it. Will she wear a French maid's uniform?"
"Not like that. To come over and clean your apartment. Her name is Edith and she's incredible. Your apartment will be like brand new."
"Oh, that's okay. I do my own cleaning. I don't really have money to spend on something like that."
"No, you don't understand. This would be my treat. For helping me with all the stuff you've done for me."
"You don't have to do that."
"I want to though. Please let me. You'll hurt my feelings if you don't."
"Well, shit. All right then."
"Wow. That's very gracious of you."

She wrote down the contact info which then fell out of my pocket later. Or it got stolen. Or I threw it away. I don't know, the point is I lost it. It doesn't matter, I had no intention of calling her. It's not that I don't appreciate the gesture. I do! But I feel weird accepting praise or thanks or gifts sometimes. I don't know why. It embarrasses me. Maybe it's my midwestern upbringing. Who knows? I know that isn't right. I know it's possible to be humble and appreciative without being a freak. People do it all the time. It's just one of many, many things that make me feel awkward. Well, the only way to get good at something is to practice it. And my place is kind of a dump, so a few days later I called her back...

"Hey, I was thinking about it and I'm going to take you up on that offer to have my place cleaned."
"Oh good! You won't be sorry."
"Yeah. So, can I get her contact info?"
"I gave it to you already."
"I know. I called her somebody else. I guess I put it in my phone wrong or something."
"Uh-huh. You probably didn't put it in your phone at all."
"Yes I did!"
"What do you have as her phone number?"
"Wrong. 727. She's in St. Pete, not Tampa."
"You had a 50% chance of getting that right and you blew it."
"Well, I..."
"More like 66%, really, considering she could live in Clearwater, which is also 727..."
"Yeah, but..."
"The chances of you getting the other seven numbers right are comparitively microscopic. There's no point in even trying."
"Come on..."
"What's her name? Do you even remember?"
"It starts with an 'E'..."
"Go on."
"No. Her name is Edith."
"That was the first name I guessed!"
"Well...all right...but..."
"You suck at letting people be nice to you, you know that?"
"When people want to treat you like shit, you're fantastic. You're great at letting people be mean to you..."
"Like now?"
"...but when somebody tries to be nice, man, you suck.
What a stupid thing to suck at."
"You're right. I'm sorry."
"See what I mean? Jesus! This is just a gift. I appreciate the help you give me so I offer you something as a token of my appreciation. It's very simple. Don't overthink it. All you have to do is smile, say 'thank you', maybe give me a hug. Those should be natural reactions. You certainly shouldn't be saying 'I'm sorry' for any reason. How hard is that?"
"Thank you for that. That's very nice of you."
"Well, that's a start. That seems like it was very painful for you."
"Yeah, it was."
"You're welcome."

I like to think of myself as a work in progress, even though I'm frequently not making any.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You're a glorious "work in progress", Sparky.