When I was in my 30s, I taught writing at a university about an hour away from my home. One semester, I had two classes — one at 8:30 AM and one at 6:00 PM. That made for a long day.
Of course, I could go home between classes, but I decided that I’d rather stay on campus and grade papers and get as much work done as I could.
But where would I go for all those in between hours? I could hang out at the library, but I knew I’d get sleepy and eventually need a bit of privacy to take a nap. (I felt funny snoozing on a library couch.)
It was settled. I needed a place where I could crash for the afternoon.
There was a couch in one of the school’s women’s bathrooms, but I knew this wasn’t a sure thing every day I’d be on campus.
Since I was an adjunct, I didn’t have an office with a door that I could shut, so catching some ZZs there was also out of the question.
Where could I go?
I racked my brain.
There was a nice teacher who might let me sleep on her couch a few hours a day. Her name was Leslie. She too was a writer, and she seemed so friendly and open. I decided to reach out to her even though we were only acquaintances.
I suppose when I popped the question, it seemed a bit strange to her. Here was this virtual stranger asking her if she could occupy her couch a few days a week.
But luckily she didn’t have a problem with the idea. She and her husband were artists, and I guess she was used to supporting a “couch baron” now and then. She said “yes” and the next day, gave me a set of keys to their apartment.
The situation worked out beautifully. No one was home during the day, and I could sleep and reinvent myself for my 6:00 PM class. While I was there, I took a long nap. When I got up, I washed my face, brushed my teeth and reapplied my makeup. I heated a can of soup for dinner on their stove. It was my home away from home.
I will forever be grateful to Leslie for opening her house to me during that awkward time.
What does this all mean?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
People, if they can, will help you.
This “ask for help movement” is gaining popularity on the internet. Sites like “Go Fund Me” afford people a mechanism to receive not only small, non-monetary favors such as the one Leslie did for me, but huge dollar ones as well. Thousands can be raised on sites like “Go Fund Me.”
Asking for help seems to be in vogue in 2017.
A writer friend of mine was trying to finish her first novel. She set up a “Go Fund Me” account and garnered a great deal of money from her enterprise. People, including me, saw her as a worthy candidate for their “charity.” With the money, she was able to complete her book.
Another friend of mine was about to be evicted. He used the Facebook to ask his friends to send him cash. We did and he managed to keep his apartment.
Giving to these two friends brought me closer to them. I didn’t resent helping them, and I’m sure Leslie didn’t resent helping me.
So if you need help, ask for it.
People will help you.
Aiding someone in need is wired into our genes.
And it’s good karma.
What you give eventually comes back to you.