That Bugs Me


For the past few weeks, I have seen a commercial on television, that, over time, has come to really annoy me on several levels. It is for the Xfinity programs on cable. In the commercial, a mid twentiesish guy is trying to move house. He calls up his friends, and one by one they either lie to him, ignore him, or simply tell him no when he asks for help. The only person who “helps” is the lady on Xfinity who sets him up with all he needs for his new place. Cable, Internet, etc. is easily moved for him. In the last scene, the guy is sitting all alone, in his new place, he (it is assumed) moved all his stuff into it by himself watching television. No friends in sight.

It bugs me because friends are supposed to help friends. I can’t count the number of times we helped people pack and move. We have hauled sofas that weighed more than a small car, furniture of all shapes and sizes, clothes, dishes, even pets. We moved people in everything from our small Datsun station wagon to huge moving trucks. We, ourselves, have moved so often over the past 40 years, that I am a master at packing and hauling stuff. Everyone pitched in to help as soon as the word went out that help was needed. Generally pizza or Chinese takeaway was provided for the friends and family who showed up and pitched in.

So, what the heck is wrong with those twenty-ish kids who won’t help their friend move? One is at the beach and pretending to be at the office. One is shopping and pretends to be sick. One is playing video games and doesn’t even answer the call, and one just flat out refuses to help. Talk about selfish and self centered! If all those people had jumped in, the moving process would probably have taken less than a day. (We all know that no one ever fully unpacks boxes, we have some that are still taped shut from our move from Hong Kong.) But these, kids just can’t be bothered.

It makes me crazy to see someone need help and no one steps up. When I took Hal to the Urgent Care clinic a few weeks ago, there was a woman in there with a child about three. He was miserably sick, and constantly whining. He wanted to be held, but only if his mom was standing up. He was breaking into a full blown hissy fit, when I finally stepped up and asked the frazzled and frustrated mom if she needed some help. Her jaw dropped, then she stepped back and said, “If you have a miracle, go ahead.” I put on my MOM HAS HAD ENOUGH face, crossed my arms, walked over to the boy and cleared my throat. When he was looking at me, all I said was his name. In a calm, but firm voice. The tears shut off, he ran behind his mother and grabbed her skirt. We heard him in the exam room later when he got a shot. But, for the meantime, he stopped, the mom was thankful, and I could hear myself think again. That mom needed HELP. She was exhausted, overwhelmed, and right at the end of her patience.

I don’t know if I am odd, or what, but I am always offering to help people. Most of the time, they thank me and tell me no, but sometimes they are very grateful someone noticed their need. I sure as heck don’t see that much in the younger set. If they won’t help their friends, they sure as heck won’t help a stranger. Although, having said that, I do live in the South, where manners are vital in social behavior. I am not above asking some tall kid to get something off a shelf for me in the grocery or in a store. And I always thank them.

Last weekend, Hal and I took Addie out for breakfast (becoming a tradition for us now that she is old enough). As I was leaving the restaurant, I fell. Hard. I no sooner hit the ground than I had three guys trying to help me up. Poor Hal had his arms full with Addie, and could only stand there. I was so shaken, that had folks not gathered up my glasses and handbag, I probably would have walked off without them. (I broke my right foot, banged up my bad knee, skinned up my forehead and elbow, and felt like a fool for falling.) After thanking them all, I made my way to the truck and managed to climb in. Some how, I don’t see folks jumping to help others in big cities. They all just whip out their cell phones and start taking photos or filming. I guess people are used to viewing life through a screen. And that really bugs me.

So, I am going to write a letter to Xfinity and tell them they would do people a service by showing everyone agreeing to help the guy move. And to be honest that the darned service guy will be there sometime between Monday and Friday between the hours of nine a.m. and four p.m. Because that bugs me too.