September 02, 2012

Get a Move On

Whenever I'm unemployed and have a lot of free time on my hands, I try to take the opportunity to spend my time wisely: not only by exploring the nether reaches of wherever I am or can afford to go, but also by repaying my karmic debt.

Instead of feeding the homeless or embarking on some other socially-responsible volunteerism, I try to help those in need from my immediate social circle. If someone complains of illness, I offer to visit. (They almost always decline.) If they are apartment hunting, I offer to accompany them on viewings. And when they are ready to move, I offer to help.

I know how hard it is to move. And I know how hard it is to ask for the help you so desperately need.

Having moved several times over the years without help from my own parents, I always had to depend on others: Nicki's mom from dorm-to-dorm, Maria on graduation night, Tim through the Holland Tunnel and to NYU in the pouring rain, Terry's parents to Brooklyn, Anthony, Michelle, James, Alex, Dan, Edith, Eric... So, if I don't have the opportunity to repay those who have helped me in the past, the least I can do is pay it forward.

I still feel pretty new in town after having been in LA for a year and a half, so truthfully, anyone I volunteer to help isn't that good of a friend, or a person I know very well. But that doesn't stop me from offering. Given my health situation, I can't do much heavy lifting, but sometimes it's good to have an extra body on hand.

I was glad when a friend took me up on my offer this weekend, and let me help him, even if it was only to act as the lookout at the open, half-filled truck parked at a red curb bus zone, warding off thieves and parking enforcement.

But the saddest fact of my life is, as much as I was glad to help out (though I really didn't feel like I did very much), what I really appreciated - and what I think motivated me from the time I initially offered - was the opportunity just to hang out.

And after all of the expressions of gratitude and appreciation once it was over - the commentary that "This was really nice of you" - all I wanted to do was thank them for letting me hang out.

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  1. Help moving is a sign of a real friend - even if you just met!
    Has it been difficult to meet new friends here in this new big metropolis?

    1. Easy meeting people. Difficult making friends...especially at this age, when you're no longer a kid or a big partier, and those around you are often married with kids.