Here’s one that I think everyone has experienced at some point or another. It might be with a partner, or a child, or a parent, or a co-worker but whoever it is they ask you to do something just as you’ve finished something and are sitting down for a moment’s rest. Most of us bite back a comment, maybe groan, and get back up. It’s part of the social contract that binds us to generally be polite.
Lady M has perfected this to an artform, and somehow manages to call out from the next room, often just after the point of no return where gravity has overtaken your muscles in the maneuver of sitting down. I’m pretty sure there’s a subconscious part of her brain that hears me clattering around and lets me get on with it, but then kicks a request out as soon as the noise stops.
I’m too polite to tell her to take a running jump, and it’s usually something minor, so I occasionally deploy a turn of phrase from my Welsh background. I call back “I’ll do it now, in a minute” – especially if I’m actually in the middle of something like replying to an email or something. It acknowledges the request and says there will be a short delay.
Sometimes that short delay overlaps with Lady M finishing what she was doing, so she comes in to do it herself, and swears it’s not a problem even as she bustles and huffs at high speed to do it. Sometimes I let her. Sometimes I tell her to bugger off and go sit down.
On special occasions there will come a flow of requests in a row as a stream of consciousness checklist forms in her mind. On those instances I tell her to hold up because I haven’t finished the first one yet, and this is taken in good grace, though it does occasionally turn into a timeloop back to the beginning of this writing piece.
This may sound like a gripe, or that I’m constantly being nagged but that’s not the case – partly because we throw requests at each other quite happily, but also because it’s alongside each of us getting on with things and occasionally asking for a helping hand rather than trying to farm jobs off at each other