Okay, so I lied. Maybe. Just listen to my side of the story before you judge me.
A friend gave me one of those gripper things you use to open jar lids. She said she’d found it at a thrift shop and, remembering I’d said I needed one, she bought it for me. I thanked her effusively. How very nice to be thought of! Except that I didn’t remember saying I needed the gripper.
Not that I didn’t need it! It’s just that up until that moment, with it staring me in the face, it had not occurred to me how much I needed it.
My friend seemed proud of herself for being so thoughtful. She proceeded to tell me her acquisition story as bargain shoppers often do, and I pretended to listen while I racked my brain. Had I made any comment that would lead her to believe I was having trouble opening jars? I couldn’t remember a single thing. And yet, I have had trouble opening jars. If I hadn’t mentioned I needed a gripper, I should have.
My friend was now carrying on about how often she used her own gripper, as did her mother and her sister. And then it occurred to me! What if my friend had me confused with someone else who would now continue to struggle with jar lids because of me? What a thing to have on my conscience!
But by now we were a good ten minutes into the conversation; a conversation in which I had enthusiastically thanked my friend for her thoughtfulness and agreed that yes I could really use the gripper. It seemed too late to say, “I don’t remember telling you I need this–not that I don’t need it.”
There was nothing left to do but offer to pay her for the gripper that, up until that day, I hadn’t known I needed. Naturally, I was concerned that if I did, she’d start bringing me all sorts of things I can use, but haven’t thought of yet. I offered anyway, and she graciously declined. It was a gift! A gift that was possibly meant for someone else. I took it and use it often, always wondering, am I forgetful or am I a liar? Meanwhile my friend hasn’t brought me any other gadgets. Maybe she’s on to me–or maybe I haven’t mentioned I need anything else, in which case, maybe I should.
I’m sure this story illustrates a point, though I’m not sure what it is. Maybe just that the longer you wait to speak up, the harder it gets. Whether it’s telling your neighbor you’re the one who reported their barking dogs to animal control. Or telling your parents that you’re the one who burned down the garage when you were 14. These are just examples, mind you. We had a carport when I was growing up, and it’s still standing.
I swear my delay was only an attempt to buy thinking time. But I waited too long, and I certainly didn’t want to embarrass us both after we’d carried on like that. Plus I was afraid she’d want the gripper back.