Growing up I often hid in my sister's fortitude. Because I was outgoing, didn't know a stranger, and all around what most people referred to as a "people person", I was able to conceal one of my lesser known inabilities.
Let me set up the scene for you:
A mother and her two daughters are out shopping for some back-to-school tennis shoes. Daughter number two notices hers are too tight and tells the mother, who is busy helping daughter number one.
"Go ask the salesperson to get you the next size up," Mother directs.
Daughter number two freezes. She can't do it. She busies herself with laces and tongues until her mom asks for her.
Later that same day the trio is at a burger joint. They sit down with their meal and the second daughter notices that her burger is not the one she ordered. She points this out.
"Just go up to the counter and tell them you ordered the one with bacon," Mother says, fishing the receipt out.
"But…I…ohh…it's fine. I'll just eat this one."
"Oh geez. Here I'll do it!" And sister number one storms to the counter and returns with a fresh burger WITH bacon, thank you, very much.
And so it went. I was totally incapacitated by the task of returning a wrong order or asking a salesperson for help or, heaven help us all if I had to schedule a doctor's appointment or something!
When I was in college I found my soul mate: a girl named Renae who was the oldest of 5 and who, rumor has it, made a sales lady once cry. I squeezed into her shadow perfectly. She made appointments for me while I earned my Bachelor's degree.
It's so strange, really, because I really do love people. Conversation comes so easily to me I can talk to a wall given the right opportunity. But these situations? They would make my skin crawl.
And then I got married and moved to a strange place where I knew no one. I had to man up. I had to put my fears aside. I had to make appointments and returns, and when I cut the watermelon in half and it was almost white, I had to be the one to take it back to the story and demand my hard earned money back.
I can still clearly remember my mom saying, "It doesn't hurt to ask." So I had to grow up, put on my big girl pants, and march things up to the counter and ask for things myself. I don't complain and I'm not rude, and I've learned that most of the time it is a very painless experience…and I may even get a free dessert thrown in!
I thought of this today when I got my cell phone bell. I had gone over on data usage. This is strange for me because I usually hardly use more than 50% of my allotment. We had been on vacation though, so I knew it would be a little higher, but when I got a text saying I was at 95% of my allowed amount, I stopped getting online via my phone unless I was at home with wireless. And then I got a text that said I was at 100%! I was confused as to how this could happen, but there were two days left in the cycle so I strictly only used my phone for texting and calling [a novel idea, right?]. But then that bill came. I was at 305/300 MB for data. And they charged me $20 for the measly 5 I had gone over.
Now, if I had just not been paying attention and went over, so be it. But I had intentionally stopped using date to ensure I wouldn't go over. And then that voice in my head, "It doesn't hurt to ask." So while Blythe was busy eating lunch I called. The lady explained something about my phone and sleep mode and date etc etc. And then said, "I see you never go over. And you aren't over by much. And most people don't know about what I just explained. So I'll credit you the $20."
BOOM! $20 may not seem like much, but in that credit I finally had affirmation that I have, indeed, grown up.
If my mom or my sister or Renae would offer to make these calls for me, I would still let them. But I can do. I CAN do it. Who knew?
And I guess it is true: It doesn't hurt to ask.