I’m Here For You, So Long As I Don’t Have To Do Anything

I know it sounds like I’m making excuses, but that’s only because I always have an excuse.

Terry Heyman
Slackjaw
Published in
3 min readOct 7, 2020

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Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Hey, I’m so sorry to hear that your mom is sick. Let me know if there’s anything I can do. No ask is too big.

Drive you to see your mom in the hospital? You got it. Though first I should check with my therapist. Driving to unfamiliar places makes me anxious and I don’t trust GPS. One time I wanted to go to Crate & Barrel and instead my GPS took me to Cracker Barrel. Boy, that was a mess. I had to listen to screaming kids for two hours. I finally escaped with a wagon wheel and a migraine.

Absolutely I can walk your dog while someone else drives you to your mom. What if I swing by around 8:37 p.m.? Can Colby hold it until then? I’m doing strict keto right now and meal prep takes a while. Yeah, it’s probably better if you find someone else.

I’d love to pick your sister up at the airport. Oh, wait, Fiddler On The Roof Live! is on that night and I don’t want to miss it. Tom Hanks is playing Tevye. Can Debbie change her flight? Any other time, I’m there.

I know it sounds like I’m making excuses, but that’s only because I always have an excuse.

Of course if it rains I’ll take in your packages. That’s what friends are for. Hmm. But what if the forecast says “no rain” and I go out and then, boom, rain, and the fruit platter sent from your coworkers is ruined?

No, I’m totally willing to do it. I’m right next door, so it’s no big deal. Nevertheless, I do worry this could set a precedent. If I move to Boston and your dad gets sick, would you expect me to drive three and a half hours to take in your packages? Or what if I get transferred to L.A. and Colby comes down with kennel cough? Where’s the line? We should establish that now, otherwise, you’ll ask me to fly across the country for a dead succulent.

How can you say I don’t care? I care about you because I’m a caring person. When you confided in me your deepest fears, I shook my head in sympathy and commented “how awful,” while inside feeling a tiny bit superior. Had you listened to my advice and taken your mom to that specialist, you’d be in a much better…

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Terry Heyman
Slackjaw

Writer. Words in McSweeneys, TNYShouts, Slackjaw & others. Can be moody, but generally a nice person. Find her at terryheyman.com