This is a topic that I’ve really wrestled with over the years, as saying ‘no’ is not something that comes easily to me.
“Want to help me move?” Okay.
“Can you take my shift?” No problem.
“Can you pick me up at the airport?” What time?
I don’t mind helping people out at all, except when it’s a major inconvenience and I can’t say no. Then I resent myself for having agreed, and sometimes even resent the person for asking in the first place.
I know that the responsibility is on me to say no when I should, but I don’t want to be an asshole. Unfortunately, I’m an asshole either way; to myself for agreeing to so something I don’t want to do, or to the other person for not helping them out. One of those is easier to live with than the other, and if you’re like me you know which it is.
All that said, I dug through the deep recesses of my brain to come up with one foggy memory that I am extremely proud of.
Let me set the scene… It’s 2am, I just closed out the bar with a good friend of mine who is about to move away, we’ve each had several drinks, and it’s pouring rain outside. We had called for a cab but it hadn’t shown up for several minutes (I lost track of how long). In an effort to stave off hypothermia my friend and I decided to wait in my car which was parked nearby.
What followed was a heated dispute between him and me about the ethics of driving after having a few drinks, until which point it is acceptable. and the likelihood of being caught in our city. I followed up each point with a resounding ‘no!’ but still, he persisted.
I don’t remember all the details, but do recall thinking that this is one ethical line I cannot cross. Regardless of the probability of being caught by the authorities, what would happen if I did? What would I say? I could never get another job that required a clean drivers’ abstract. My insurance rates would skyrocket, and I probably wouldn’t even be able to afford to pay the ticket.
And that’s not even the worst-case scenario. I don’t even want to think about what would happen if I injured someone. I wouldn’t be able to face myself, much less anybody else.
I doubt any of these thoughts actually crossed my alcohol-laden mind, and if they did I doubt I could have articulated them. I just remember having more conviction about saying ‘no’ in this situation than any decision I had ever made before.
The chances of anything bad happening were extremely slim, but slim was enough. This wasn’t jaywalking. This wasn’t riding a bike without a helmet. In this case, slim was enough.
And I knew this.
So I said ‘no.’
And it still feels good to have done the right thing.
Blogust is my attempt to challenge myself to write every day for an entire month. The end goals include practice writing, more material on my blog, establishing a daily writing habit, and accomplishing a personal challenge. I have not given these posts any forethought, all prompts were conceived by other people.