Why is it that men, myself included, have so much trouble asking for assistance, or directions. For some reason, we seem to be missing a gene that precludes us from ever seeking advice. This is not to say we won’t accept it, even if begrudgingly, but we somehow cannot bring ourselves to ask for it.
I was in the hardware store the other day and saw another guy wandering around. It was obvious he was looking for something without success and it wasn’t until an employee finally asked him if he needed some help that he said “Yes” and allowed the employee to show him where it was. The lesson here is “the length of time it takes to find something is in direct proportion to how long it takes someone to offer you assistance.” Another Quigley law.
I’m afraid, in this respect, that I am also guilty as charged. My wife and I were shopping last week, and there was an item on the list we could not find. So my wife said “While I keep shopping, why don’t you go and ask someone. I thought “What??? Ask someone??? Are you kidding?? I’m not going to do that and admit I’m not as smart as the other shoppers. It’s got to be here somewhere, and invisibly, I slipped into my Inspector Clouseau mode. However, after aimlessly wandering the aisles for a while, I began to worry that my wife would become concerned by my absence, and have me paged. “Attention shoppers. If anyone has seen a gray haired man in levi’s and a brown jacket with a determined but puzzled look on his face, he is lost. Please have him returned to his wife at the checkout counter. Thank you.” I don’t think so. Maybe just this once, I would ask someone. This is the point where I start discrediting the options. “There’s a guy, but he works in produce. He wouldn’t know. Perhaps the checkout lady. No, she’s too busy. Can’t ask her.” I start to panic. I’m running out of time. I must ask. I cannot bear the humiliation of going back to my wife and admitting that I failed. So, reluctantly, I ask someone who takes me right to it. Upon returning to the cart, my wife says “where have you been. You’ve been gone forever.” To which I reply, in an effort to save face, “I had trouble finding someone to ask and even they had trouble finding it.”
It’s the same way with directions. I will drive an hour while pursuing a ‘shortcut’. Drives my wife crazy. We have gone on so many expeditions with marginal results that she just doesn’t even argue any more beyond saying “if you won’t ask for directions, then use the GPS.” Come on, The GPS? The “Girls Pointing System?” I don’t think so. And so we embark on another ‘adventure’.
This reminds me of the story of the old guy that, when arguing with his wife would loudly proclaim “when I die, I am going to dig myself out and haunt you for the rest of your life.” When he did finally die, a neighbor asked his wife if she worried about him making good on his threat. She said “No, I had him buried face down, so let him dig. I know he will never ask for directions.”
From the archives Mar 2014