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Etiquette and boundaries

A is out for a reunion with his college friends this weekend and on the day he leaves, the tube in our bedroom gives away. I’m quite resourceful and jugaadu that way, but, in my opinion, the fact that I tried to do it despite it taking an awful lot of balancing with the help of pillows and/or a stool to reach its height to remove and replace it with my short stature deserves a little round of applause! 🙂

Try as I may, I, for the life of me, couldn’t get the new one fitted even after successfully removing the old one and struggling with the catch in my shoulder. After trying for a good fifteen minutes in the dark (since I couldn’t find the flashlight and I have no idea how to use it on my phone) I decided to call my neighbour for help.

The helpful lady that she is, she came down instantly and, albeit with some visible nervousness, climbed up the stool and started giving instructions like a weary professional ‘Switch off the light button’, ‘Switch off the fan’, “Ask the kids to go out’ etc. I literally had to request an offended A Jr to step out.

Half-elated that we will soon be devoid of the gloomy darkness, I was on my toes respectfully following her orders. Then, it happened. After being convinced that her initial brashness wasn’t helping she asked for a flashlight, which I didn’t have. “Use the one on your phone.” she said. I told her I didn’t know how. She asked for my phone, and I gave it to her.

I hadn’t checked it in all this rush for a while and there were some mail notifications on it. To my horror, this lady not only scrolled down to see what it was, but also took time out to read who the mails were from, right in front of me. Alternatively, less than ten seconds into the settings, and she said she couldn’t find it either and handed my phone back. She stepped down, declared, “Let us call the watchman.” and left.

I wasn’t sure if I should lament that calling her for help was a mistake or be furious with the blatant invasion of my privacy. What if it was some personal message from A or anyone else that I didn’t expect any random person to just open and see? We are friendly, agreed, but basic boundaries and etiquettes exist even between spouses! Isn’t that a given?

Anyway, she as well as the watchman turned out to be a damp squid. “Call the electrician.” was his brightest suggestion. Also, he broke the starter while handling and it had to be replaced with that of another unused tube. It was his sheer good luck that I had thrown away the old one, or like I did in my mind, I would make some scary Ninja noises and poses and break it on his head like those Bollywood stuntmen. :-/

Long story and its most plausible conclusion; call it a case of stupendous self-underestimation, but I fitted the tube at last. A Jr and I hi-fived triumphantly for it and my proud boy said happily, “Mamma, you were right. Only you can do everything!” 😀

(Wonder when I said that, but I’m glad my son remembers and vouches for it.)

16 thoughts on “Etiquette and boundaries

  1. Glad you got it done…and what more do you need that the son vouching for you! 🙂
    If I ever meet that neighbour of yours, I’ll be more than happy to give her some unsolicited advise and a few very bod pieces of my mind. UGH!

    1. I was so happy when he said that Priya! Really! ????
      She was over the line there yaar, and I just froze looking at her brazenness. Please give her a oiecw of your mind. You are cordially invited for it!

    1. I kept telling myself I could do it, but that one moment of doubt took me through the whole futile exercise. Will try and keep it away next time.
      You smiled? ???? Now even I can, although that time I was speechless.
      Thanks for reading Prakash. ☺

      1. That is a very much needed exercise. One has to call for help as its all part of our social interaction. So why I included ‘sometimes’ in my comment.. :-). So its very much welcome, if we our self do it in the end or anyone of our help. 🙂

        Pleasure is all mine.. 🙂

  2. YEEEEEE! (that is a substitute for a clap sign btw) I was laughing as well as shocked at your experience, Varsha. Self help is the best help, I remember my Grandfather telling me. It is shocking to know that there are people who think it is ‘okay’ to invade your privacy, that too under your nose, simply because she is doing you a favour. Strange!
    Glad you got it done. Your explanation of your balancing on pillows got me reminded of my own experience on doing a similar clumsy DIY at home.
    A big high five from me too!
    Good day, Varsha, (dunno who i missed this post )

    1. Good morning Perfy!
      I normally am quite self-sufficient and abhor asking for help, but that day I was alone and couldn’t imagine voluntarily asking for a mishap to happen with me. Anyway, as was wont, I was more efficient than I gave myself credit for. ????
      Invasion of privacy, now what do i say? It was shocking yaar. Incredibly over the line. You should’ve seen the way she was behaving with an air of definite self-importance. Never mind the tiny fact that it didn’t help achieving anything. Hi-five to the other DIY smart lady! ✋

      1. I can so very well understand your situation but the ‘invasion of privacy’ bit is still a shocker. On the positive, you have understood that you can give credit to yourself for abilities you were doubtful that you could handle and to keep the helpful neighbor at bay.

        1. Totally agree. The other day I was out and a package from Amazon to be delivered later in the day arrived early. I asked the courier boy to hand it over to her (after informing her myself ofcourse) and was half-expecting to come back and see the whole package torn away to pieces and the contents scrutinised inside out. :-/ Guess this is what happens when you get your trust broken once.
          We are capable of anything as long as we are prepared to give ourselves that window of opportunity and chance. I believe that now.

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