Wednesday, April 2, 2014

30x30: Can I Get a Ride?

I'd rather do it myself, if that's alright.

Having a sense of independence has always been a big deal to me. Even as a toddler I wanted independence. I did not want to hold my father's hand when walking up the big marble staircase at the Old Post Office. I could manage the steps myself.

I still prefer it that way. If I can count on anyone to come through for me, it's me. And if I don't come through, there's no one to blame but myself.

I accept help reluctantly. I don't want to feel beholden to anyone. I don't want to feel less than capable. At the same time, I try to be generous. I like the feeling of helping someone. Life is mostly hard, and to craft a moment of ease for someone else, even if it's small, is good for both the helper and the helped. The acceptance of that help is half the beauty of such moments.

Like that time I could've taken two buses to get home. The North Avenue bus to the Damen bus would've gotten me almost to my front door. But it was February, it was freezing (like polar vortex-style freezing), we'd gotten out of rehearsal half an hour late (10:30 at night), who knows how long the North Avenue bus will take to get here, and I'm not even sure how much longer the Damen bus will be running.

And I would've waited for the buses, gotten home close to midnight with work the next morning, if a cast mate hadn't insisted on giving me a ride home, even though it was out of her way.

I have to say. It was nice sitting in a cozy car cabin instead of freezing my eyeballs on the corner of North and Halsted, waiting on the bus. My cast mate was good company, and our brief conversation was so much nicer than staring down silently under the florescent lights of the bus. It's nice, sometimes, to accept a hand with humility and grace.

Being excessively independent and capable is cold and lonely. Sometimes I'd rather be cozy. And when I say yes to someone doing something for me, I then have a stronger impulse to do something for someone else. To keep the good will going and hope it comes around again. If for no other reason than to keep the universe in balance, help make it a little warmer.

Original illustration by Isabella Rotman

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