Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Go Ahead, Ask for Help (I Dare You)

When our washing machine broke down, I wasn't even mad. More like amazed that it lasted as long as it did. Our family goes through a lot of clothes, and after almost 15 years I was starting to suspect it was a Horcrux.

My husband got on YouTube and within an hour he'd disassembled the machine, diagnosed the problem, and ordered the part required to fix it. (My deepest thanks to YouTube University for teaching him how to be an auto mechanic, plumber, electrician, and now appliance repairman.)

With the part ordered but not scheduled to arrive for several days, our minds turned to more immediate concerns.

The washer had died just as we were about to do a critical load of laundry. And I mean critical, as in there were going to be multiple people going commando if we didn't do something ASAP.

Things get worse before they get better.

Groaning, Phillip and I looked up the closest laundromat and started to make arrangements. We both had a full schedule of things we needed and wanted to do today. Who would be least inconvenienced by this 60-minute detour? (Answer: neither of us.)

Then I remembered something I'd seen earlier that morning in the juice aisle of the grocery store.

A woman was trying to reach something on the top shelf, but instead of the popular hop-and-grab method or (my personal favorite) scaling the shelves like Kevin in Home Alone, she simply looked around and said to a tall guy walking by: "Excuse me, could you grab that for me?"

People these days love to say "we're all in this together," but how much more would we really feel that way if we gave and asked for help more freely? What if we didn't let our fear of inconveniencing anyone prevent us from connecting with each other?

Yes, I could drag my laundry to the Bubble 'n Wash and wait there for an hour... or I could call my neighbor and ask if I could throw a quick load of laundry in her machine. 

Was picking up the phone and texting her slightly awkward? A little bit, I'm not going to lie. I really like my neighbor, but we're not exactly wash-my-underwear-at-your-house friends, if you know what I mean.

But building relationships requires stepping outside of your comfort zone, and it's not like I had to tell her exactly what was in my laundry basket (unless she reads this, and then I just did.)

I felt a little sheepish showing up at her doorstep with some dirty clothes and my detergent, but if she minded, it didn't show. She's a lovely person who was probably happy to help, and we had a great conversation while I was there.

I came home glad I didn't go to the laundromat, and not just because this way ended up being much more convenient. Asking for help once in a while, even if we could technically twist ourselves in a knot to avoid it, might even be a good thing. 

And the next time my neighbor needs something or runs out of eggs in the middle of making brownies, she's got my number. 

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Diana Dye said...

I love this! This kinda sorta goes along with what I've been mulling over the past few days. I was thinking and praying about how to serve my neighbor and got the distinct impression to ask her for help. Sometimes what people need is to be needed! I sure hope my washer doesn't go out soon but I know I'll ask this neighbor first if I need a cup of sugar or a restaurant recommendation. THEN she'll feel okay about asking me for help which is my ultimate goal.

PurpleSlob said...

Great point! Sometimes we need to swallow a bite of humble pie. Then she will feel better about asking you. I like Diane's thinking.
And you didn't have to go to the Bubble n Wash! win/win!