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Old 02-12-2020, 01:35 PM
Skald the Rhymer is offline
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Am I being irrational in refusing free rides to & from work?


I am in that minority of blind people fortunate enough to still be working. Post-divorce, my kids and I moved back into the apartment building where my work wife also lives. Because a Lyft ride from my home to my work cost about 25 bucks one way, I generally use the local para transit service, MATA Plus, to go to and fourth unless I have a late meeting forcing me too summon a Lyft. Because of the built-in inefficiency of MATA Plus (let alone the fixed-route buses) I am forced to schedule my daily rides for long before I actually need to get to the office. Even so, I'd rather budget $60 a month for work travel rather than $50 a day.

My work wife has a schedule frequently but not always coterminous with mine, so she has suggested that I routinely ride with her. She doesn't want any money for this, just as she always refuses to be compensated when she has to, for instance, take me to the doctor without warning. I don't like the idea of this. It is bad enough that my stepdaughter has to routinely take the bio kids to and from school; asking my work wife for daily shuttle service seems beyond the pale to me. It seems like the sort of thing that would eventually strain the friendship. Emergencies are one thing, but I don't think I should depend on her for daily rides when I can afford an alternative.

It has been suggested that I am allowing my pride to cause me to act foolishly. Am I?
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:46 PM
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I wouldn't want to do that either. I don't mind relying on people I am paying to provide a service. But I wouldn't want to be a daily chore for someone. Especially someone I have to maintain a good professional relationship with. That is a recipe for messiness.

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Old 02-12-2020, 02:12 PM
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You're not being unreasonable at all - I think it makes sense to have a business relationship with the people providing you the service, particularly since it's not an occasional or optional thing. That way if she gets sick or if something happens you don't have to figure out alternatives and any disputes can be resolved through a company rather than creating an awkward situation between the two of you.

Also, I hate, hate, hate talking to people during my morning commute. It's the one and only time of the day I can count on not having to speak and I treasure it. So maybe I'm a tad biased.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:14 PM
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I don't know what you do for a living, but is it possible to work from home? Seems like your workplace would want to accommodate that for vision impaired.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:21 PM
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I'd accept the offer but insist on paying half the cost of the fuel. That way she gets a benefit too and it's not just a favour she's doing for you.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:22 PM
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If I were you I'd probably let her drive me a couple times a week, while making sure I do something to thank her now and again. Fill up tank, buy her dinner, etc. That's what friends are for and I bet you would do the same for her if the roles were reversed.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:25 PM
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I get wanting to remain as independent as possible, but at the same time, she is offering a significant benefit to you. Maybe sit down with her, explain your concerns, and accept rides with her only upon the condition that you at least be allowed to buy her a tank of gas/month (or other reasonable period).
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:36 PM
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I'd accept the offer but insist on paying half the cost of the fuel. That way she gets a benefit too and it's not just a favour she's doing for you.
This sounds right to me. She'll probably enjoy the company and paying for the gas goes a long way.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:41 PM
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I'd accept the offer but insist on paying half the cost of the fuel. That way she gets a benefit too and it's not just a favour she's doing for you.
Or even pay half the IRS mileage rate to compensate for vehicle maintenance and wear and tear.

I was in your position once (temporarily after leg surgery) and couldn’t have afforded any alternative. I am forever grateful to the awesome coworker who drive me to and from work for several months.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:38 PM
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In the 90's, there was a series of books about living in foreign countries. Living in France. Living in Iran. Etc. And one of them was about living in the USA. It pointed out (in contrast to their expected readership), that Americans were uncomfortable with social debts, and would actively avoid accepting favors that they couldn't reciprocate in some form.

So, no, you aren't being irrational, just American.

I would say, just be aware that this might be a smaller favor on her side than on your side. You might be able to pay out the social debt by being nice to somebody else, rather than by monetizing the relationship or forcing her into a contract.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:06 PM
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Can you consider it a carpool? I carpool to work, and of course part of that deal normally includes splitting driving duties, which you can't do. But, I did once have a nondriving member of my carpool. At first, he covered the entire cost of our parking space, which was a decent mileage plus gas equivalent. Later, gas prices went up, and we figured out an additional weekly amount that he paid.

I can definitely understand not wanting to feel like you are getting a favor twice a day, nearly every day. But, it can be a pretty standard mutually beneficial relationship if she's willing to make it resemble a carpool.
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:08 PM
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If you only ride with her when she's going anyway, then I don't see how you're imposing any burden on her. You could still take MATA on any days when she wouldn't go otherwise, or even Lyft if there's not enough warning to arrange for MATA as long as that doesn't happen often.

Is there any equivalent thing you can do for her? Does she hate, or even just dislike, doing some chore you can do and are good at? Does she have pets, and sometimes go out of town and need someone to feed them; or even houseplants that need watering?

If the relationship really would be entirely one-sided, I'd explain to her that you're uncomfortable with that, and would really be much happier if you can at least pay for some of the gas/parking/vehicle maintenance/whatever.
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:45 PM
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If I were her I'd feel awful heading for work and seeing you outside waiting for para transit or a Lyft. Since she is not going out of her way and so long as you keep to her schedule, I don't see any problem. Definitely buy her gas. Dinner - depends on your out of work relationship. Might be taken wrong. Maybe pay for a car wash. Maybe get her appropriate thank you gifts.
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:51 PM
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Ride with her on the condition that she let you pay. Explain how it would otherwise feel quite unbalanced to you. Ask her to imagine the situation reversed. I'd do more than buy a tank of gas. I'd offer to pay at least half to 3/4 of what you have to pay for your other ride. There is seriously NO MERIT in grossly inconveniencing yourself. NONE. You don't get extra Virtue Points on your Permanent Record Card or anything. Nor does she for insisting on doing you a favor. It's about equity and balance. My 2 cents.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:15 PM
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How easy will it be to use the MATA if she is sick or on holiday? Can you call them for a ride the day of, or is it something that must be scheduled far in advance?

If you have an easy alternative for days when it's inconvenient for her, then by all means accept the car pool arrangement. You can compensate with lunches, or coffee, or gas money, whatever suits her best. You refer to her as work wife, so one assumes you know her pretty well.

If, however, her waking up with a migraine would mean that you had to call lyft, then that would cost the same as the monthly MATA charge pretty quickly. In that case, it may be best to keep your inexpensive (and more independent) routine intact.

But don't underestimate the value of letting other people do something nice for you. An opportunity to help someone else can literally stave off depression. None of us can go to heaven unless some of us consent to have kindnesses done for us.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:16 PM
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If I were her I'd feel awful heading for work and seeing you outside waiting for para transit or a Lyft. Since she is not going out of her way and so long as you keep to her schedule, I don't see any problem. Definitely buy her gas. Dinner - depends on your out of work relationship. Might be taken wrong. Maybe pay for a car wash. Maybe get her appropriate thank you gifts.
Fortunately, blind people don't have to wait outside for MATA Plus. They call on arrival.

The out of work relationship is that of best friends. The work wife/husband thing started 18 years ago when we were both new hires at a different company. My bio kids call her Auntie. and she is already and will probably remain the person most likely to be called for, for instants, a late night trip to the ER, as she is literally downstairs. even if she were not driving me to the hospital in such a circumstance, she would be likely be the person opening the door for paramedics and facilitating their entrance into the building. She is also the second choice for babysitting duties, as my bio kids are her god-kids. and she introduced me to the new girlfriend, just as I said her up with her current wife.

In other words, our lives are already very entangled.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:17 PM
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I assume you use special software to read posts and post here?
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:26 PM
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If you work at the same place and live in the same building, then it doesn't make any sense not to ride to work together. If you're concerned about fairness, then just find small favors you can do for her. Maybe save her the next time she's attacked by a swarm of killer bees?

But anyway, it sound like the two of you are already at and well past the point where each of your lives is better with the other than it would be without. That's balanced enough.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:27 PM
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If you work at the same place and live in the same building, then it doesn't make any sense not to ride to work together. If you're concerned about fairness, then just find small favors you can do for her. Maybe save her the next time she's attacked by a swarm of killer bees?

But anyway, it sound like the two of you are already at and well past the point where each of your lives is better with the other than it would be without. That's balanced enough.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:30 PM
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I understand the OP's hesitation, but objectively I don't see a problem with it. We all try to do nice things for each other especially when it costs us nothing. Allow her to help you out and then help her out when an opportunity presents itself. It it doesn't, then help someone else out.

It's sort of like watching the neighbor's dog when they are out of town, and he trims your hedges. If you both stubbornly refuse the help because you don't have a dog and he doesn't have hedges, then you both are out because you have to pay others to do these things.

Are there no other ways in which you can help her?
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:42 PM
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Can you consider it a carpool? I carpool to work, and of course part of that deal normally includes splitting driving duties, which you can't do. But, I did once have a nondriving member of my carpool. At first, he covered the entire cost of our parking space, which was a decent mileage plus gas equivalent. Later, gas prices went up, and we figured out an additional weekly amount that he paid.

I can definitely understand not wanting to feel like you are getting a favor twice a day, nearly every day. But, it can be a pretty standard mutually beneficial relationship if she's willing to make it resemble a carpool.
I agree- consider it a carpool. She sounds like she wouldn't go for you paying the full cost of the gas ( because she wants to feel like your friend, not your taxi driver) - but I'm sure you can persuade her to let you pay half by framing it as a carpool and if you buy her the occasional coffee or lunch, you'll feel better about paying for only part of the gas and doing none of the driving.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:45 PM
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In other words, our lives are already very entangled.
Dude....Freakin Aslan called. How he got my number is not entirely clear. Transcript follows:

A: <unintelligible> Fool of a Took! <muttering>

O: I beg your pardon?

A: Let's dispense with formalities, Oak. I need you to do something.

O: You know I....don't play for your team.

A: That's why it has to be you. My team currently has it's head up it's collective ass.

O: Yeah, the Nehimiah Scudder Wannabe dude. I get it. Bob was suppose to edit him out, dammit. Anyway, what up
Cat-Jebus?

A: Your buddy Skald is being a Muggle. You need to tell him to stop it, and let the lady help. It's something she needs to sodo.

O: A'ight. But I ain't giving back my key to his Secret Lair. Peace.

A: Fly on, Freebird. I owe ya one.


So [B]Skald[/B, listen to the Big Cat. She needs to do this. Let her--but buy some cash and the occasional happy. So mote it be.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:05 PM
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I assume you use special software to read posts and post here?
On the PC: yes. It is called JAWS, and it sucks rotten eggs.

On the iPad or iPhone: no. That is, the assistive technology called VoiceOver is built into all Apple mobile devices, so it is not really "special." It only sucks regular eggs.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:30 PM
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I'll chime in and say you should just consider it a carpool. Pay your share of gas and so on, and give the arrangement a try.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:39 PM
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Does your riding along with her enable her to use the carpool lanes?

Agreed on paying for her gas. And bring her a pie once a month.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:21 PM
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In other words, our lives are already very entangled.
Cool. Then I withdraw my concern about you buying her dinner as well as gas, I assume the dinner won't cause gas.

I understand your concern. My father taught me to always do more favors for others than they do for you since a positive favor balance comes in handy some days. But some times you gotta accept them, especially when the cost to her is nil, and when she probably would love someone to talk to whiile commuting.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:41 PM
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As a child, I was taught to always turn down offers of hospitality -- people are only offering to be polite

As an adult, shoe on my foot, I found that I offered generosity because I really meant, and I felt disappointed if I was turned down.

I'd say, if you decline and then the offer is repeated more forcefully, it's a sign that it is a genuine offer, and she would derive personal fulfillment from it.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:43 PM
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Does your riding along with her enable her to use the carpool lanes?

Agreed on paying for her gas. And bring her a pie once a month.
I don't bake nearly as much as I did pre-blindness. I can no longer do it efficiently or, in many cases, artistically. The most adventurous thing I made in 2019 was carrot cake.

I appreciate all the responses y'all have given. I'm not sure my position will change, as some of the suggestions given to prompt me to except the offer have brought up complications to my mind. for example, using the para transit service requires me to reserve a ride three days in advance. I would not want to get in the habit of repeatedly canceling those; it seems likely that that would eventually get me blackballed.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:54 PM
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I agree with most here. Accept and repay.

But, what is a "work wife"?
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:04 PM
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I think offering only once is enough sign that she wants to do this.

I didn't realize how close you were. But it reads to me that you're talking, in effect, about a family member. Chosen family is still family. And family members do this sort of thing for each other; and don't balance them out day to day, or sometimes even year to year. They balance out over lifetimes; and they balance out over service to the family as a whole, not necessarily between individual members.

Take the rides; and do what you can for her and/or hers.

-- if the issue is that the rides would only be available occasionally and on short notice, that's different; in that case just explain that MATA needs to be scheduled three days in advance and doesn't appreciate frequent cancellations.
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:08 PM
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As others have said, it can be a great kindness to others to accept their kindness.

I have a friend who uses a wheelchair and is unabashed about asking for what he needs from people. And people fall all over themselves to give it to him, not because he's a charity case but because he's a swell guy, and we care about him and like being useful. He was there for me during a difficult point in my life, and it makes me feel good to be able to do something for him.

You don't have to accept anything that makes you uncomfortable. But just consider that it might mean a lot to her if you said yes.
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:37 AM
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@ harmonicamoon
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what is a "work wife"?
I'm glad I'm not the only one. I've been scanning the thread for 29 posts wondering WTF is a "work wife" I've never heard that term in my life.

I reread the OP twice thinking he meant ex-wife.
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:12 AM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_spouse
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:46 AM
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@ harmonicamoon


I'm glad I'm not the only one. I've been scanning the thread for 29 posts wondering WTF is a "work wife" I've never heard that term in my life.

I reread the OP twice thinking he meant ex-wife.
I read this whole thread thinking he moved back in with his wife after he became blind, and I really could not understand why his wife driving him to work was such a big deal.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:36 AM
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I don't bake nearly as much as I did pre-blindness. I can no longer do it efficiently or, in many cases, artistically. The most adventurous thing I made in 2019 was carrot cake.

I appreciate all the responses y'all have given. I'm not sure my position will change, as some of the suggestions given to prompt me to except the offer have brought up complications to my mind. for example, using the para transit service requires me to reserve a ride three days in advance. I would not want to get in the habit of repeatedly canceling those; it seems likely that that would eventually get me blackballed.
Do what makes sense for you.

I get what people are saying about the kindess of letting someone do a kindness. But I think boundary maintenance is more important. If an offer makes you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason, you have every right to decline it. Even if doing so makes the offerer feel some kind of way about it. Maybe even especially if it makes the offerer feel some kind of way about it.

If your work wife is truly close to you, she should be able to get where you are coming from and not take it personally.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:51 AM
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Frankly, given that this is a person with whom you have a long term very friendly and positive relationship, you should accept the offer, if and only if it actually benefits you. She doesn't sound like the sort of person who would hold over your head the fact that she gives you a ride that takes her 0.0 miles out of her way, takes 0 minutes longer and costs pennies per ride. She is likely a person who says to herself "We live in the same building and work in the same building and he's paying for a transit service instead of just riding with me, that's crazy!"

If the offer would result in a significant inconvenience for you or her, it makes sense to decline, but outside of that, ride with your friend instead of a stranger.
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:16 AM
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If you don't want to do this for fear of relationship strain, and perhaps you want some level of independence. What about 1/week? Just to have a easier day and enjoy that someone wants to help, not for something you can't do on your own, but just to make your day better by her offering something that is not hard for her to do.

It's a thing I learned while thru-hiking the Appalachian trail - how to receive. It's a tough thing to learn because it puts us in the position of the needy one. But receiving is part of giving, and we all need help in life and we also all desire to give, but many times reluctant to receive (which paralyzes the giving).

How I came to realize this is while hiking is that while we (as hikers) had everything we needed to do what we needed to do, there were many sacrifices we had to make. Simple foods that are common in everyday life were not available to us while in the woods for days. There are people who offered us such foods such as a hotdog, hamburger, bacon and eggs, pizza, and many more. To them these foods are easily obtainable, for us they were impossible to obtain on trail. Having that food given in exchange for our trail tails, something that was so easy for us to do, yet impossible for 'the givers', called trail angels, to obtain on their own, was so helpful in so many ways. It brought many a thru hiker to tears to know that they are cared about as a person, yet it was so easy to do.

Many of us have things that others value, yet are easy for us to obtain. To me these are natural gifts and we are meant to share them. There are also things that are hard for us to obtain, but easy for others, these are things we should receive as that allows the gifting.


Also another thought, is it possible for her to drop you off not at work but at a better place for you to catch your transit that may be a lot easier for her?
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:32 AM
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Half of the lessons we learn from giving are in the ‘receiving graciously’ when required department! The giving is only half the lesson.

I understand your hesitation. On the other hand you already enjoy a healthy relationship with this person. Consider instead of an outright no, trying it first. Set up a two or three day a week trial and see how it really does function for both of you. Then you’ll KNOW if it will mean cancelling the para transit on short notice, or not.

Do not force compensation on someone wanting only to help. Instead consider putting $5 aside for each ride, then gifting the money as your work wife leaves for holiday or Christmas rolls around!

Good Luck!
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:49 AM
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A store manager who lived in my city used to give me rides. No problem. Now if I stay late and help the night manager with closing, she also gives me a ride to a spot on her dricce home, and I walk the rest of the way.

You are not inconveniencing her in any way. I'd say go for it.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:09 AM
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If you don't want to do this for fear of relationship strain, and perhaps you want some level of independence. What about 1/week? Just to have a easier day and enjoy that someone wants to help, not for something you can't do on your own, but just to make your day better by her offering something that is not hard for her to do.
Also, if it's one scheduled day a week, the logistics might be simpler-- she'll know that on that one day, she'll either have to leave on time or schedule meetings/overtime more than three days in advance. Which is still way more flexibility than an average parent who needs to pick up kids.

My humble suggesting is try carpooling with her a day or two a week and see how the logistics go. I agree it would be hard to feel like she's being your chauffeur and getting nothing in return, so work out ahead of time what your fair contribution is, based on a carpool where one person is always driving (and if that fair contribution is more than the cost and hassle of MATA plus, then of course stick to MATA full time).
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:28 PM
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I agree with most here. Accept and repay.

But, what is a "work wife"?
Is it an Americanism? I've heard this phrase on a regular basis for at least 10-15 years, so I'm a bit surprised that it's unknown to multiple people in this thread.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:36 PM
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I'm in America, and I had to look it up.
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Old 02-16-2020, 04:48 PM
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I came back to this thread because I wanted to ask the OP a question: what if you weren't blind? Is that what's keeping you from figuring out an equitable arrangement?
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Old 02-16-2020, 07:14 PM
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I came back to this thread because I wanted to ask the OP a question: what if you weren't blind? Is that what's keeping you from figuring out an equitable arrangement?
"If things were different," Pooh said, "nothing would be the same."

If I weren't blind, I wouldn't have the problem. That said, I will concede that my handicap has caused me to be resistant (and sometimes resentful) about excepting help. it would be very easy to let people do every little thing for me, but that seems like surrender to me. It feels like a step towards death.
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Old 02-16-2020, 07:54 PM
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Is it an Americanism? I've heard this phrase on a regular basis for at least 10-15 years, so I'm a bit surprised that it's unknown to multiple people in this thread.
Yeah, it's a completely normal phrase, in my estimation, and around for at least a decade or decade and a half. My wife has somebody that I refer to as her "work husband." It's basically a close co-worker.

As to the OP, shit, if she offered, I'd accept in a heartbeat. If someone wants to be nice to me, let them be nice to me. I've done similar with no expectations of repayment.
  #46  
Old 02-16-2020, 08:33 PM
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Is it an Americanism? I've heard this phrase on a regular basis for at least 10-15 years, so I'm a bit surprised that it's unknown to multiple people in this thread.
I'm an American and I've never heard the phrase outside of StR's posts. Even after looking it up, it's such an incomprehensible concept that it's sorta hard to believe it's common enough to deserve a name. Maybe it's industry dependent.
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:00 PM
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I'm an American and I've never heard the phrase outside of StR's posts. Even after looking it up, it's such an incomprehensible concept that it's sorta hard to believe it's common enough to deserve a name. Maybe it's industry dependent.
I heard it used (and used it myself) at a job I had in 1993. It's not new.
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:29 PM
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I'm an American and I've never heard the phrase outside of StR's posts. Even after looking it up, it's such an incomprehensible concept that it's sorta hard to believe it's common enough to deserve a name. Maybe it's industry dependent.
Fuck, it was mentioned last week or the week before on the morning radio show on the way to work. It's not obscure.
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:56 PM
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Fuck, it was mentioned last week or the week before on the morning radio show on the way to work. It's not obscure.
I'm sure it's not, but it's also easy to not encounter (and obviously I'm not the only one in this thread). A quick search of the SDMB reveals a handful of uses (going back to 2001), but almost all of them by StR.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:01 PM
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I'm sure it's not, but it's also easy to not encounter (and obviously I'm not the only one in this thread). A quick search of the SDMB reveals a handful of uses (going back to 2001), but almost all of them by StR.
It is not my fault if none of you hosers our beloved by your coworkers. You wouldn't have these problems if you would just make more chess pies and bring them to work.
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