Last month my brother and I went out to eat with our dad and stepmom. We couldn’t find a parking spot on the cramped city street, so my dad decided he would go back to the parking garage we had ignored earlier. He thoughtfully offered to drop off my stepmom and me in front of the restaurant to spare us a few steps.
Unbeknownst to him, I hate to be dropped off.
I know he was trying to be nice. I know my stepmom appreciated it. I know this quirk of mine doesn’t make a lot of sense.
That didn’t stop me from grumbling like a four-year-old.
Of course, in the noble interest of “know thyself” (my thinly veiled excuse for putting the ‘anal’ in analyze), I’ve been trying to figure out why. I think there are two reasons.
The first didn’t really apply this time around, and it’s probably less important anyway. Usually being dropped off at the door means I have to stand around looking dopey as I wait for my companion to arrive. I need to get over that; I see other people do it all the time, and they don’t look dopey.
It’s the second reason that helps me understand myself better. I’m capable, dang it–just as capable as any person who has to walk a few extra blocks to the chosen venue from a parking space. In fact, I can even do it in the rain. Or in the snow. Or in the heat. Or in the dark of night. (That was a little homage to the unofficial postal workers’ creed, in case you missed it.) Not only that, but I can also do it in heels.
Where the driver sees the offer as a kindness, I see it as a poke at my ability, an implied softness. Remember that old chant, “Anything boys can do, girls can do better?”
Call me a dork, but at least I’m learning.
Now that I know what’s going on in my psyche, I can figure out what to do about it. This isn’t the dropper-offer’s problem–it’s mine–and I promise you, grumbling is not an acceptable response.
The way I look at it, I have two choices. I can give myself a mental smackdown, suck it up, and graciously accept. Or I can–equally graciously–tell my thoughtful driver, “No thanks. I’d rather enjoy your company and walk with you.”
What I won’t do is make someone feel bad for trying to do a good deed.