Being a proud possessor of the Y chromosome, I can only assume that this latest of ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’ is one for the laydeeez:
“Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?”
Come on: I’m a bloke. Of course I’m not going to ask for help. Or directions. I’m not genetically programmed that way. Deep down in my DNA, possibly in the Neanderthal bits, there is something that demands self-reliance, a primitive urge to be the hunter-gatherer. To protect and to serve, not to stand around looking helpless and scratching my head when confronted with something like this:
It’s actually part of the self-assembly instructions for a space-saving shoe storage device, but for all the sense it makes to me it might as well be carved on the wall of an Egyptian temple. For all I know, it is.
Don’t worry, Madame did it. I just handed over the screws when instructed to do so.
On this occasion, the need to ask for help didn’t arise: I know when I’m beaten even before I start. It wasn’t always that way: there have been occasions when, driven by those primal, nucleotide-fuelled urges, I’ve given it a go.
- Like the time I ‘repaired’ an electric ring on our stove. I must have done it very efficiently, because I had some bits left over. It never worked again.
- Or the time I put up some bookshelves, which functioned perfectly until you actually tried to put any books on them.
- Or when I tried to assemble a free-standing bathroom cabinet whose USP was a revolving top half. I’d reached step 99 out of 100 before I discovered that it wouldn’t turn because I’d put something on backwards at around stage 3.
How they laughed.
When it comes to that other well-known blind-spot of machismo, seeking guidance in getting from A to B, things aren’t quite so bad. I do have a functioning sense of direction and…well let’s just say that the shortfall of my capabilities compared to those of my beloved is not quite so gaping as it is in the case of DIY.
In the days before the availability of navigational guides that sit on the dashboard and talk to you, I was capable of reading a map and, ahead of longer journeys into unknown territories, I would prepare by writing down the key points – motorway junctions and so on. Sadly, all this preparation did not improve my reaction times and on more than one occasion I have had to confess sheepishly that the upcoming left turn was indeed the one we had just passed.
This never went down well.
Nowadays, like most people, we have a GPS device. Due to its penchant for mangling both the French and English languages, we call it ‘Crabtree’, after the character in ‘Allo, Allo’,
Crabtree is mine to command – or program at any rate. This usually works well enough, and I even have sufficient confidence to override some of the more egregiously circuitous routes that he is occasionally wont to propose.
I comfort myself with the thought that, as he can’t answer back, then I’m not really asking for help. Thus is honour satisfied.