I feel as though my flatmates will roll their eyes if they read this, because I should make it clear that a typical evening at our flat sounds like this:

Hollie: “Hey… can you please get me a glass of water?”

Hollie: “Oh hey… will you please turn off my light?”

Hollie: “Hey Em… What’re you making me for dindin?”

Hollie: “Hello? Anyone? Helloooo? Oh hey! Could you please get me a new loo roll?”

Hollie: “Will you tuck me in?”

Hollie: “Hiii can you please plug my phone in?”

So now that you know that I’m the worlds largest hypocrite, let me tell you how annoying it is when grown-up, independent people need help with stupid things.

My mother once worked for a woman who was wildly rich and used her time to turn the smallest of tasks into ordeals. My mom, who helped to clean this lady’s house once a week or so, intercepted Claudia (that was her posh name) fussing over a single un-hung piece of art and a bare wall. Claudia was deliberating over calling a handy-man she had once used, or finding someone in the yellow pages… TO COME TO HER HOME AND HANG THE FRAME ON THE WALL. My mother, who is all-around superwoman, blinked in bewilderment and hung the effing picture on the effing wall because it was that simple. In the process, she saved Claudia a handsome hourly fee and the hassle of employing someone to drive out into the countryside for the solitary task.

There are just some things you can figure out yourself. Especially in this day and age, when Google and other search sites exist. I think the most profound advice I’ve ever given anyone has been “Google it,” and trust me, it’s advice I dish out often. I first noticed the value of it when I worked in customer service. People didn’t always like it, but I was of the mindset that if they were going to be dense enough to go to the trouble of finding the hotline number, waiting in a call queue and finally reaching me to give me their question about mailing addresses and express shipping, they could certainly Google it. It’s profound advice in disguise really: it teaches ridiculous people that the internet is their friend, and really they are more independent than they think.

Some exceptions to being more independent with trivial tasks:

a) Asking could further your romantic quest- only if it’s a fail-safe done deal though.

b) Asking could provide a much needed ego boost to someone in need. This is charitable and you’ll be rewarded for your thoughtfulness.

c) When you’re employing a Socratic method to an inferior in your charge, which is both crafty and impressive. Included in this is essentially principles of manipulation, and that’s still OK.

d) If asking could really enhance your personal experience of learning.


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