drcpunk (drcpunk) wrote,

About Effort

Sometimes, what you do really isn't a large effort at all for you, and you may find yourself boggled at being asked to do it, and being thanked with extreme gratitude when you have done it. What people in this position should understand is that what is trivial for them to do really does save another person a lot of hassle.

For example, when we were staying with Lee and Barry Gold before LACon IV, I helped Lee pack a bag of Xenofilkias she was taking to the convention. What this means is that Lee would tell me which issue she was going to put in next, and I would find the gap in issues in the bag and hold it open for her to put in the issues. Or maybe it was the other way around, but I don't think so.

This was totally easy for me. It felt like I wasn't really doing anything. But, without a second person, one person needs to hold the gap open and fit the issues inside, without getting them crushed or dog eared. For one person, this is a major hassle. For two, it's suddenly not.

My brother was boggled when I asked him to do a very simple task at our parents' home. All he needed to do was to make a list of the make and model number of about half a dozen appliances. This was such a simple task that it didn't feel to him like really helping, and he kept saying, "But, you could do that just as easily."

True. Very true. But the point of him doing it was that I did not have to do it. That freed me up to do something else at a time when tasks were many and spoons of energy few.

Sometimes, what someone does for you may not seem like an effort, but it is. Recognize this and honor it.

marapfhile and crash_mccormick and his wife put up and put up with mneme while our apartment was not inhabitable. Most folks are at least clueful enough to recognize that this is an effort, and would be even if we were the Perfect Houseguests. We are totally not the Perfect Houseguests.

But it is important to remember that everyone offering us crash space was putting in effort. ladymondegreen and akawil have just moved. Most of their stuff is in boxes. House guests are the last thing they need. But, they made it clear that, if we needed to crash with them, they would make this work. Anyone thinking there is no effort involved in mentally reviewing the practicalities of this ("Okay, if we shoved that stack over there, and dug out the air mattress..."), has never been in a position of waiting to know just how badly their friends would disrupt their life.

This is true of everyone who offered us crash space, including, but not limited to mnemex's parents, womzilla, otherdeb, and hms42 and mylescorcoran, both of whom were too far away for it to be practical for us to crash with -- but mnemex and I were at least a little tempted to visit Ireland. (We resisted, but I do hope to get there some day.)

It is most true for ebartley, who offered us crash space, got asked point blank how long we could crash there if we couldn't go back home in the foreseeable future, and had to deal with a constantly changing plan that had us arriving, or not, any time from Sunday to Really Amazingly Late last night if we discovered at the last minute that we couldn't stay at home. Sure, it may only be a little work to make room for us (or it may not), but being essentially on call is not a fun place to be.

This was something I never could explain to my father. If we planned to visit on a particular day, he didn't understand why it was any trouble at all to ask us to wait an hour, and then another, and then to check back a few hours later, and then to try again the next day, lather, rinse, repeat. After all, we'd already planned to visit him, right? What effort was it to wait a bit to do so, putting a day on hold with no idea of what tasks or entertainments we can and can't start?

And, I'm not sure that he understood that one may be willing, but not capable, of doing some things. He would have done his utmost to walk through fire for my mother. He wanted to bring her home from the nursing home so that he, diabetic and not able to take care of himself particularly well, could take of his wife, never mind that she had dementia, never mind that she had a traecheosomy, was on a venting unit, and was fed through a tube in her stomach. As far as he was concerned, he loved her, so he could do this, and it would be no effort at all, and there was simply nothing else he had to do with his life.

When he knew he had to go to the hospital, he wanted the ambulance to bring his power scooter. Somehow, some way, he was sure, he would visit my mother in the nursing home, two blocks away, and then return to the hospital.

I've no real conclusion here, just a heartfelt thank you to all of our friends who have put in the effort, time and again, for years, to make our lives brighter and easier.

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