I can’t count the number of times I’ve helped friends move, I do that gladly though, that’s what friends are for right? Other forms of heavy lifting, various home repair, tree related yard work, some hauling of junk, have all been things I’ve been asked to help with. I don’t have any problem with helping. When it gets excessive in terms of frequency or level of labor, I start feeling not as willing to help.
I’ve helped friends move into third story apartments with heavy furniture, I’ve helped people move in the hottest August weather, and once in the dead cold of February (I was only wearing a t-shirt, I was that over heated). I’m no stranger to discomfort, and I’m happy to help ease the burden of my friends. Usually.
My friend calls me tonight and asks if I’m doing anything. There were a few plans that fell through at the last moment, so said no. He asked if I could help him with something. I said sure, what do you need help with. He said he needed someone to hold up the drywall while he screwed it into the studs. I said ok. How much drywall do you need to hang? Enough to cover the basement.
That was shaping up to be a decent amount of work. I still agreed to do it. He called later and asked if I could stop by his place at nine pm. I had obligations that were remnant from the previous ones that didn’t materialize, so we agreed to do it another time.
I can’t believe I agreed to do it, given my schedule for the next day. Get up early, drive down to OSU campus, find a parking spot, trek to the stadium, leave right after the game, try to make it to band practice on time, then be at the bar where our gig is just a couple hours later. From 8am to at least 1am, I had about an hour or so where I wasn’t busy with something. Granted, three of those hours would be watching the Buckeyes pound the Akron Zips, but I’d still most likely be standing the whole time.
I’ve known this guy for almost 14 years. I hired him the first time we met, he helped me get a job when we saw each other several years later, and I helped him get his current job. We’ve done numerous things as friends, but he tends to stay at home most of the time. Occasionally he’ll ask if I want to see a Blue Jackets game or something like that. It’s just that the last time he called me was to help him move a dozen or so solid steel I beams, from outside his house into his basement all without scratching anything. They were ten feet long, not an easy task. Hell he’s in MUCH better shape than I am, and he was asking for a break first. Now, the “favor” is hanging drywall. I know full well that I’ll get a “thanks” at the end of it. Were this an isolated incident, I’d just chalk it up to doing what friends are supposed to do.
The time I helped move someone in the heat of August was a friends mother in law. He promised pizza and beer, and I of course agreed to help out. That lady had the second largest UHAUL that they can rent out! What did she collect? Cookbooks! Those fuckers can get really tiresome to haul after the fortieth box or so. I wasn’t interested in the beer that day, water was my friend, at times I was almost out of breath. She did offer to pay me, and I refused. I was doing a favor, wasn’t being hired, and wasn’t there for the money. She forcefully insisted that I take it. I didn’t even look at the amount until I got back to my car. She overpaid me IMO, but probably saved a lot compared to having guys come out and do it for her.
The work, the time, and the potential compensation aren’t thing that I think about when helping a friend out, but the fact that my phone is going to ring first out of all of the people that might help, is starting to get a bit old. I still like helping my friends, I am just not that fond of my role, amongst some of them ,being the workhorse.
I’m not angry at all, I’m just starting to notice that of all of the people I know, of all of the circles of friends that I have, I am the universal constant as far as labor intensive favors go. I’m still glad to offer it, but man, can’t someone else step up for a change?