As women, we all know we take care of things. I take care of my family. I take care of the dog. I take care of the cats. I take care of our neighbor's cat who has taken up residence on our front porch.
I take care of the birds in our neighborhood by feeding them all year round. I think every bird within a two-mile radius now congregates daily in my back yard. I've even started buying dried corn cobs for the rabbit that lives in our yard after I saw him eating twigs the other day just to survive.
Recently, an elderly neighbor has started calling me asking for things. At first it was to bring her mail to her door. Then it was to put out her trash and recycling. Then it was for rides to the grocery store or the drug store. Yesterday she called to tell me that her phone was not working properly and that I needed to bring her some batteries immediately.
This recent request got me wondering. How exactly have I become the caretaker of the entire world?
I understand that our neighbor is 86 years old, lives alone and needs some help. What bothers me is that she has family living no more than 20 minutes away. She claims she cannot call on them because "everybody else works."
It is official. I don't work. I sit around all day eating bon bons, watching soap operas and reading trashy novels just waiting for someone to call me with something to do.
The problem is I have a hard time with one word - "No."
My son's teacher sent a form home a few weeks ago asking for volunteers for several class fundraisers. I signed up to not only work at our school's Darlin' Dance, but also to bake cookies and donate a door prize. On Sunday night, my son's teacher calls and says she doesn't have enough volunteers to work the Book Fair and could I possibly volunteer for a shift?
Of course I said yes. But it left me wondering where the other 19 parents in the class were that they couldn't give three hours of their time.
It is simply the curse of being a nice person. I have a hard time letting people down. My heart went out to the poor bunny eating twigs just to fill his stomach. I feel bad for a little old lady stuck in her house in this harsh weather.
But maybe the next time my son's teacher calls for me to volunteer, I will just say I have a previous engagement. Perhaps when my neighbor calls for a ride on a day I have to work, I will suggest she call our local transit authority that provides a shuttle service for senior citizens at a small price.
Then again, who I am kidding. I will still be the one sitting in a busload of over-stimulated children on their way back from a field trip and driving to the store for batteries in a foot of snow.
Pass the bon bons.