I’m writing this right now to avoid the urge to go hang a bicycle hook in someone else’s garage. A neighbor came over a few minutes ago with her son. The wife and I are pretty introverted around our neighbors so while we have waved at her several times in the last six months, we only really met her last weekend when she came over to say hi while we were doing something in the front yard for a while. Nice lady, she gave us some good local tips on the ‘hood.
A few minutes ago, this same neighbor comes over with her teenage son and asks to borrow a drill. She wants to hang a big hook in her garage and screwing it in by hand would clearly not work. So, I give her the drill and a set of drill bits and off she goes. While I’m fetching my drill I’m thinking to myself “How in the hell does a woman who owns a home and is raising two kids not have a drill and a ⅛” bit?” That is followed by an almost unshakable urge to go do it for her. I mean if she doesn’t have a drill already maybe she’s not mechanically inclined and maybe everyone will be better off if I just go save the day.
Whatever this woman has done in life, she’s clearly made it this far without my help. She owns a house in a neighborhood where I am the sketchy renter that doesn’t talk to anyone. I have some evidence she’s kept at least two people alive from birth to somewhere beyond 14 years old. I’ve seen both kids, they seem reasonably well-dressed, well fed, etc. But of course she doesn’t have a drill so she needs me to come solve all her hook hanging problems. It’s not about me needing to control everything at all. Really.
She appears to be raising the kids on her own. Her son seemed to already understand how to work the chuck on my cordless and he knew roughly what size bit he wanted, so assuming she is head of that household it does seem odd there’s no cordless drill in their house. I consider the cordless drill pretty much the first power tool everyone should own. If you can afford anything beyond basic hand tools, make a cordless drill your first purchase. Many household tasks involve a drilling a pilot hole and it can often serve as a cordless screwdriver. But, it’s not my life so I decided to just give her what she asked for and leave it alone. I seem to have trouble guessing the right thing to do in these situations. I was in a similar situation years ago. When I didn’t react by offering to come do the whole thing, the neighbor hemmed and hawed until it was finally obvious to me I was supposed to go help, which is what I wanted to do all along.
This time, maybe it was all a trick on her part to force some social interaction. If so, good on her. We’re clearly not going to step up and she gave me the opportunity to embarrassingly ask her to repeat her name (I forgot it from last week). I also got to meet her son, and I suddenly feel like a fairly normal neighbor. Or she really doesn’t have a drill and just needed to hang a hook in her garage.