I received a call earlier this evening from my friend, asking if I could go to her house and make sure she blew out a candle. She was on her way to a weekend away to the mountains with her boyfriend and kids, and it occurred to her, an hour into the drive, that she may have forgotten to blow out a little candle in her kitchen. I pick up her kids from school once a week, so I have a key, a familiarity with her house, and nothing better to do this particular Friday night.
While I was driving the less then 5 minutes to her place, I thought about how grateful I am for my village. Just this morning I had driven my friend’s (and client) 2nd grader to to the airport so he could fly to NYC to meet her for fun adventure in the city after her work meeting. He fully trusted me while I picked him up from his grandma’s house and delivered him to the airport to meet the other adult friend who would be his travel companion on the flight. While I assisted her with the long-distance work project at hand, I received word that everyone arrived safe and sound. I felt helpful and proud of him.
Earlier this week, my friend (and client) expressed how glad she was that she could trust me after we spent the entire day handling last-minute logistics for a fundraiser. And I was glad to meet with the organizer of our local Halloween event about how I could help promote.
As I drove to deal with the “candle situation”, I was thinking about how happy I was to be able to help these people in my village. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am absolutely getting compensated in one way or another for some of this help. However, the fact is, that I would not go above and beyond for people I don’t care about, or for whom I don’t feel would, and have in the past, gone above and beyond for me. I have client relationships and I have friend relationships, and sometimes they are one in the same.
I arrived at her house thinking about how grateful I am for my village, to find that the candle was not still burning. I decided I should check in the basement bedroom and make sure there wasn’t a candle burning down there. As I made my way down the stairs…BAM…thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk. I slipped and bounced, on my back , down the wooden stairs. Luckily, I landed on carpet and lay there, semi-crying in pain, and semi-laughing that this had happened again. I have a reputation, you see, for falling down flights of stairs. I even have a nickname “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs”. If you are familiar with the Ghastlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey it will make sense. If not, Click here.
After a few minutes of writhing on the ground, I realized that my only injury was an elbow scrape and that I would, once again survive this gaff. I also wondered why the universe was punishing me for being helpful. The day before, while babysitting at very same house, the screen door had “attacked” my heel and made it bleed. The day before that, while setting up for the event, I whacked the top of my head full force into a metal bar.
I’m not really sure what my point is. It is something about feeling useful and trusted and grateful in the knowledge that I have folks who would have my back as I have theirs. Or maybe this whole post was just a rambling vehicle to tell you that I fell down the stairs. Again.