Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Three Story Life: The Sideways Ask

I learned about The Sideways Ask when I moved into the condo with Dad and Scott. My Dad usually gets himself what he wants. When he doesn't buy it for himself (he went out one afternoon to get a trailer hitch installed and came back with a brand new SUV because it came with a trailer hitch) he acquires favors, stuff, deeds, someone else's Lakers' jacket, etc. because he has us all trained. We have learned to surmise, assume, interpret, telepathically grind out what he's after. Especially any new in-laws, when one of us is dumb enough to marry again. A newbie spouse gave up the Lakers' jacket, right off his back. The family has all manner of working communication quirks that, when combined, equal twisty behavior and losing your favorite clothing. (I got my sister's thumbhole shirt, right off her back one Thanksgiving.) I inadvertently stopped participating in The Sideways Ask. It was pointed out on the phone with my sister (the one without the shirt), who was itemizing the obstacles she had to overcome to make it on time for Easter dinner. I listened, filed my nails, straightened my make-up drawer. Then I heard "you're not playing." I said, "what?" She said again "you're not playing." And I blinked on. I would always volunteer to pick up some of the duties, or my niece, whichever came first and second. I hadn't done that. "Huh," I said. Now I know how we learned The Sideways Ask. From Dad. I spot it at home a few times a week. "Yes, without a doubt two people can get that out of the car." "Get what out of which car?" I ask and then I'm in, hauling whatever is in the car out. "Yes, I think a hose clamp would do it." "Huh," I said. I'm glad to help when asked, if asked when I'm not in the middle of something else. That's when The Pounce shows up, check here for that behavior. It is a growth opportunity to ask for what we want and need. If we need something from another person, two people have successes and feel good. Sideways feels like a clever trap, and when recognized, is less effective. Be open, ask, and receive. Much more better, as Cap'n. Jack Sparrow says.

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