Mistakes Were Made: I Helped An Acquaintance To Move

Essentially I travel for my profession. I go from town to town for a few months at a time, work an assignment, and then on to the next. I’ve ended up in some spots (both in terms of location and predicaments), but sometimes even I am still caught by surprise not only with the idiocy of others but also of myself. This is one such occasion.

Billy Holiday is illustrated here. He is in 1930s era suit, reading a newspaper and drinking from a small liquor cup. He looks a little downcast.

On the image is written "Mr H: Man of Regret." There is an arrow pointing at the cup that says "coping juice."

I have an official Brag Section on the currently-private Sneer Campaign Discord, in which I encourage people to stroll in with an obscene amount of ego and dote on themselves about good deeds, bad deeds they carry no shame over, and everything in between. I had assumed that this move would go very smoothly, a few small items here and there, and that I would be hitting up the discord later to brag about this small deed as if I had laid down the very railroads. Sure enough I was thinking of bragging about helping one of these dead fuck coworkers move. However, that was not in the cards. There’s no bragging. I was a goddamn fool. I’m here to tell you it’s completely correct what they say: There’s no fool like an old fool.

Upon arriving, it was very soon that I found the items were in greater quantity than as advertised. I also knew that this moving truck had been sitting there since early morning (it was roughly 4pm now as I had just finished several hours of WORK), yet it appeared nothing had budged from within. I walk in to see my co-worker chatting up the poor cable man who appeared to be wondering whether to use the screwdriver in his hand to complete his task or shove it in his neck and hope for a quick escape. I was also hoping for a quick end to all of this, but in the form of getting all that shit off that truck and in the house in a timely manner.

This was not an easy thing to accomplish. It wasn’t necessarily the heft of the items, but the inability of the person I was helping to understand that I wanted to do this in a timely manner and this move did not comprise the entirety of my evening plans. Doing shit like stopping to clean each item drove me wild. Look, son of a bitch, you haven’t been concerned with cleaning any of this in years judging by it. Don’t start when I just got off work and want to get my ass home. Checking their phone over and over was also a thing. Twenty seconds here, thirty there. The only person you could find to help you move after fifty years of living in the same town was someone you’ve known for two months, I KNOW you don’t have friends hitting you up on there. I’m already on edge in environments where I think I’m going to come away with hepatitis, or tetanus, or just about anything that requires a shot series to aid with. This environment was not one that promoted cleanliness nor safety. So let’s stop dragging our feet here. If you wanna move, let’s goddamn move. It was after a particularly heavy (both in weight and stains) dresser that I determined I’d go to the place of worship of whatever Higher Power helped give me the strength to finish this.

This is an illustration of Billy Holiday that is actually from a panel of a comic where he is drunk and belligerent. So he has little clawed hands and angry brows. Next to him it is written "fightin mad on this day."

Eventually the job got done, but not before she even roped that poor cable man into helping me with a couple of heavy items. Personally, I’d be fucking ashamed to sit on the sidelines and watch two unpaid folks do the work. I’m a man who isn’t ashamed of paying movers, but when you are fully compensating people for doing their job that is a different story.

Well I guess lack of dignity and lack of decency go hand in hand. Get this, she wants a ride back after she drops the truck off! Mind you we are now nearing 6pm or so and that is an hour drive. I couldn’t hold the laughter in. I told her I had to get my nap in soon to stay on schedule. That’s partially a lie. I could tell you more about the sleep schedule I try to take when I’m on weekend call, but that would probably be an article in and of itself. But yeah, I LIE sometimes. I should take that to the brag section. I’m what I consider an honorable liar though. Only when needed, and only to people who have pushed the limits of decency.

She then took her bullshit to levels I was unaware existed outside of the realm of speculation. The truck was empty, but apparently she wanted to shuffle around items inside the house. I was asked if I’d help move a mattress that I guess her ex’s small kids used. I don’t move mattresses kids have used — that’s a firm life rule. I know there’s a high probability it’s a goddamn piss mattress. Have at it. I’m not the hero in your sky on that one, lady. She then told me if I stuck around I’d meet these children later. Is that a prize? I tell you if I wasn’t already beating feet I would have at that goddamn moment. In general If I’m not their father I got no time for a kid. Not a lot of kids catch you by surprise. I’ve known and loved maybe three kids. One is my actual son, the other a step daughter of sorts, the other a nephew who doesn’t make me want to swig cleaning products while being around. Kids are either just as wild and obnoxious as you think or some manage to let you down even further. Rare do any rise above.

An illustration of a woman with an ill pallor holding a screaming misshapen baby up to Billy Holiday, the sneer campaign writer. Billy is setting his sleeve on fire while saying, "Oh! Hold on! I have accidentally caught fire!"
A throwback image from a post about babies being ugly, not children being unpleasant. But it seems to still be relevant here.

I also pondered a bit on morals and human obligation as the day went on. How much should we help someone in need? What level of need is acceptable to throw our hands up to and say “do it your fucking self”? I have a soft spot for helping those who are in situations they can not control and suffering through no fault of their own, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a good person but I’m a decent one. As I stood there and listened to her complain about her neighbors, the fact that they were “going to just sit inside and not come out here and help me,” I realized that some people are not deserving of our aid. Fifty years on Earth, as I said before, and you can’t muster up a single other person to come help you. How do you know these people didn’t have better things to do? How do you know they were even physically able to lift things? How do you not mind your own fucking business?

If it helps paint the picture further, this is one of those people who starts every conversation with, “Can I ask you a favor?” This is the same person who has asked me for money on multiple occasions. This is the same person who was actively cursing a coworker who did not answer her text which basically demanded that he come help her move as well. I now like to refer to this coworker as “That guy who sure as shit is smarter than I was on this day.” But all too often some may “aw” this person, showing pity. Fucking DON’T. There’s enough hard times and people in need in this world that folks who are suffering from self-imposed hardships brought on by their own misery and dumbassery aren’t worth a single pity tear.

Should I mention they were dumb as fuck too? I’m not a big guy, only in personality. I’m fairly scrawny for the most part and am not someone who can lift a lot of weight, but like I said I can lift my wallet and phone and get someone to do that shit for me that I will adequately pay and respect for their assistance. This thick-headed asshole didn’t even know how to use the equipment provided. Imagine you put a heavy box on a dolly and begin to roll it and you see someone is looking at you in complete shock as if you just levitated the bastard. It’s the wheel, baby. It’s been around since you were roughly in middle school.

You know the worst part? I didn’t even get any goddamn food. It’s an unspoken rule that you feed your moving help. This goes for friends, professionals, etc. I was afforded one coffee mug of Red Gatorade. I could have probably had a refill but that would have added additional seconds to my time there. I got back home fired up and sore. Arms aching, filled with sugars, back reminding me that we are halfway through life, I think I even yelled at sweet Dollissa over the internet, for which I mostly apologize.

A composite image of a past comic version of Billy Holiday indignantly shouting "well!" at a past comic version of Dollissa who is looking upset. Above them it says "A drama."

Look, there’s nothing wrong with being a good person and lending a friend a hand. I’d do it in a heartbeat if a good friend came calling for moving help. Helping a stranger again — I dunno. There are ethics and obligations as the person asking for the help, and I don’t think I can afford the mental and physical strain of taking the chance dealing with someone whose thoughts on the matter may not align with my own. Also, I know my friends wouldn’t try to rope me into moving a piss mattress.

It’s tough out there. It’s tough for folks who don’t mind pitching in. Lotta slings and arrows for good folks like us. I’m here to tell you though, keep your heads up.

I’m also here to tell you it’s not going to get any better, but keep your head up anyway.

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