I prefer to do things myself.
Partly this is my nature, and more than that, this is my experience. I have been taught through many harsh life lessons that things do not happen unless I can make them happen all by my little old self. I have had many people who were supposed to be very important people to me, who were supposed to have my best interests at heart, who were supposed to be there for me when I was down and out – who weren’t. I learned that I can only count on what I can get done myself, with my own admittedly meager muscle, brain, wit, courage, and brawn.
I fight hard not to ask for help, and give in only when I cannot do it by myself. Even then, I usually have tried everything I know to do to get it done first, before I submit and give in, acknowledge my weakness, and ask for help. I do it only when I can’t, and I’ve tried.
So, when I ask you for help, hat in hand and humble, you need to understand what it costs me to ask you.
When you give me an exasperated glance, that long-suffering sigh, with that “how dare you importune me for this ridiculous, unnecessary, paltry, pittance of a request, you annoying woman” look you have perfected on your face?
Guess how I feel.
I am so dreadfully sorry that I was in conversation with my husband, and neglected to notice that you held the door for us to enter the establishment. I am sure my error was compounded in triplicate because you are black and I am white. I can assure you it wasn’t intentional, nor do I expect such service from strangers, or black people in particular. Neither my husband or I am visibly handicapped, so you offered (of your own volition) to hold the door which you could clearly see we were capable of opening ourselves. That was both courteous, and kind of you.
What wasn’t, was your announcement in overly loud voice of that sarcastic “You’re WELCOME” when we neglected to immediately and profusely thank you ourselves for your kind (and unnecessary) gesture. Believe me, your deliberate rudeness put our unintentional forgetfulness squarely even and then some.
Why bother to offer a kindness (necessary or not) if all you are after is the public notice of your nobleness? And your conduct when you didn’t get your thanks (for whatever reason) certainly left us both with a clear impression of your “nobleness,” didn’t it?
Yes, it is our usual habit to acknowledge such a gesture with spoken thanks. Yes, we were engaged in our conversation, and we forgot to thank you. I don’t believe I have lowered myself to that level when my polite gestures have gone unrewarded and unnoticed, and if I ever have, I am thoroughly and utterly ashamed of myself.