“For future reference, always assume I’ll be late,” he told me. “There should always be a 3o minute buffer.
Laura is graduating from college and her mother is having an “open house” for her tonight. I got the invitation from her mother, which seemed a little odd to me since I only met her once for about 10 minutes, but it’s a party for Laura and the invitation was to me, Micah and Judy. I accepted right away, even though I don’t know that I’ll stay very long. I’m making a lot of assumptions about what this thing is going to be like but I would think there will be a lot of Laura’s friends, Laura’s age, from her college, at this event. I won’t belong. That’s OK. Tomorrow is a laundry day and I don’t need to be out late tonight.
Judy called me out in the hall before class on Wednesday, ostensibly to have me sign a card she had gotten for Laura to go with a gift certificate, or something that we’re going in on together as a gift for Laura. The card was remarkably tacky and I kind of wish I hadn’t signed it but what’s done is done. While I was signing the card, Judy told me that she plans to ride BART tonight because she doesn’t want to have to drive in the traffic from where she works to where the party is. Admittedly, it’s a long way and since Judy doesn’t usually get off work until 6:00 it would be late before she gets there. “So I was thinking I could call you when I get there and you can come get me. I wouldn’t want Laura or her mom to have to leave the party.”
No, you’d just like to assume that I’ll be at your beck and call and won’t mind having to leave the party.
I got a text from her this morning telling me that it looked like she’d be getting off work around 4:00 instead of 6:00 “which should help my commute time.” A few minutes later I got a text from Micah asking “Would I be able to trouble you for a ride tonight?”
I struggle with these things. I really don’t want to play taxi service or chauffeur. I don’t really mind driving Micah to the party if he’s ready when I am because he’s near by and I’m going there anyway, but…
I sent a reply to them both, “OK. Here’s the deal. I’m planning on leaving work right at 5:00 and heading to Laura’s mother’s house. I’m also not planning on staying particularly long as I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow.
“Micah IF you can be at my office AT 5:00 you can ride with me. Otherwise you’ll have to figure out another way.
“Judy, I think you should drive. you’re gonna want to stay later than I will and so will Micah, probably. You’ll both need a way home that won’t be me.”
Judy replied to tell me, “Laura said she’d come get me, but I didn’t want her to have to leave the party. So, I’ll just call you when I am getting close to see if you are willing to pick me up. If not, again, no worries.” So now if I don’t come pick her I’m the dick who “made” Laura leave her own graduation party to come pick up the person who couldn’t be bothered to take care of her own needs.
Micah’s response was that I should assume that he will be late and that there should be a 30 minute buffer. “I assume you did that,” he added. “I always assume I can get anywhere in 5 minutes.”
“No, I told you the real time that’s why ‘IF’ and ‘AT’ were in caps. In that case, be here at 4:00,” I told him.
I do not get this mentality. I absolutely respect people who can speak up for themselves and their own needs (clearly I’m not especially good at it.) But it is so not OK to inconvenience other people with those needs.
I told Micah, he needed to be here by 5:00 and that he should let me know when he gets here because by then I could genuinely forget about him. I also told him if he wasn’t here by 5:00 I would leave without him and he’d have to find his own way. Even still I fully expect a call from him a few minutes before 5:00 telling me he’s running late. I’ll decide then if I’m going to wait for him (probably.) I also told him he’d have to find his own way home and he’s fine with it.
If Judy wants me to give her a ride, she should be at my office at 5:00 as well, except that means she’d have to leave work at 3:00 and she might as well just drive herself. At some point it all just becomes ridiculous! Judy’s solution to finding her own way home is to have Laura, or Laura’s mother, take her back to the BART station.
Am I being unreasonable? I’m not perfect. I know I’ve made requests of Michelle that were inconvenient but I have tried to limit that to rides to the airport and taking me to the hospital and staying with me when I had surgery. And only because I have no one else around here to ask for such things. Beyond that, I really try to take care of my own needs. Is it unreasonable to expect everyone else to do the same?
Updated: The moment I hit send on this post I headed out to get some lunch because I had less than an hour before my next meeting and I hadn’t eaten yet. I told K, “I’m going to go get some lunch before I run out of time.”
She said, “Ooo. Where’re you going? Will you get me some fries?”
Timing is everything.