Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Asking For Help

This morning, while swimming, I noticed an old man a few lanes down getting into the pool.  Now, there isn't anything really spectacular or note worthy about a retiree swimming laps in the morning, and originally I had noticed him because he looked like a man in my choir and I was going  to say hello.
After my next pass, I notice that he has stepped away from his lane (which someone else abruptly occupied- which I thought was incredibly rude, but I digress)  -  and sat next to the hot tubs, futzing with his goggles.

After I swam a few more passes, I noticed his shaking hands were still struggling with the goggles.  I asked him if he would like to borrow my spare pair (I actually have like 4 spare pair, but I gave him the ones that had the easiest sizing straps).  He tells me that he lost his original goggles and he bought a pair in the cafe, but he cant get them to fit.  So he takes my pair and tries to trade me for the ones he bought, and I tell him to keep them they were cheap.  I  go back to swimming, finish up my set, get through my cool down and notice he is still struggling with the goggles.

I had intended on sitting in the hot tub anyway, so I walk up to him and ask him if he wanted me to try to get the size right, that sometimes those goggle straps could be a bit tricky.

He replied with a terse, no.  As I sat in the hot tub, I watched as his shaky hands were unable to loop the tip of the strap through the slit of the goggle on one side, and were unable to undo the knot he tied in them on the other side.

Fifteen minutes later, I'm  finished with my Hot Tub soak and he is still struggling getting more and more frustrated.  Eventually he gives up, throws the goggles down in frustration and goes into the pool and swims with no goggles on at all (considering how liberal they are with the chlorine in that pool, I have to imagine that was not a comfortable feeling on his eyes)

It made me think though,  how often would we rather suffer the consequences of our own stubbornness, than accept help from someone?  Personally, I would rather cut off my arm than *ask* for help-  but if help is offered, and I truly need it I would gladly accept it.
Which, isn't all that much better than the old man who wouldn't even accept offered help.

Where do you rank on the help scale?  Will you ask for help?  Do you accept help when offered?  If you used to be like me and have become more open to accepting help from others, how did you get past the hurdle?

~  in case you were wondering what happened with the goggles, while he was in the water, I picked them up from the ground unknotted them, relooped them and left them on his towel before going into the locker room...


Alex said...

Like most guys, I'm that way when it comes to asking for directions. I have a great sense of direction and never want to admit I don't know where I'm at or how to get where I'm going to. And with the addition of smartphones that have map apps, my independence in this regard has gotten even stronger.

I feel bad for this guy because his resistance to accepting your help really had nothing to do with you. He just doesn't want to admit to himself that his motor skills are declining and he was going to get that strap adjusted on his own no matter what it took. Or in his case, not at all.

Aging sucks.

Leslie said...

Millie, I congratulate you on your response to his stuborness. I'm sure his eyes were burning and the whole time he was swimming he was wishing he had accepted your help. He might have even felt a little bit embarassed by his behavior. I speak from experience here! Hopefully, when he was done swimming, he saw the "gift" of straightened out goggles and was thankful. You didn't allow his behavior to affect you, and what you did was very kind. Bravo!

And to Alex, I agree. Aging sucks!