Thursday, July 02, 2015

Obligations of Man

Friend : Oh I wouldn't want to put them through much trouble. 
Paul : Just to wait up for a little while? That small favour? 
Friend : Just don't want to trouble others!

不想麻烦你! Don't want to trouble you! Most assuredly it does sound altogether agreeable to the ears. Perfectly reasonable not to want a friend to be unnecessarily inconvenienced after all.

At least that's what they would like you to think. Perchance they think quite highly of themselves as well. Quick pat on the back and all.

Me, I call their supposedly magnanimous bullshit.

Perhaps it's my constant hobby of people-watching throughout the years. Or maybe just a cantankerous, cynical way of interpreting said perspective. However after years of endless voyeurism, I have come to the dismal conclusion that there are a few who won't put others to that trouble usually because they won't trouble themselves to do the same. Hence the inherent hesitation to find themselves obliged to return the favour.

Nothing altruistic about their behaviour in the least.; in fact there's a sickly sour note of selfishness underneath all that schmaltzy humanitarianism.

Boy : Could you do me a favour?
Friend : No.
Boy : You don't even know what it is yet.
Friend : Still no. That's why I don't ask anyone for favours.

Probably your first instinct would be to vehemently deny such a horrid inference - but just pause and think about it. That friend who frequently tries his or her best not to trouble others by asking for favours - well you usually don't find them doing any other people favours as well. At the bottom of it, they fear asking for favour because they fear returning it. Neither a borrower nor a lender be. In fact you'd probably have to straight out compel them with a sharp blade to the neck to proffer their wholly limited services.

Entirely manageable favours such as picking up something along the way or even bringing someone around a new place. Even then they would usually tentatively hem and haw before agreeing.

Really, who's the trouble now?

Basically for those in the small list I call friends, I would do all in my power to extend a hand if I can. Short of the shockingly extraordinary like lending a kidney, easy favours within my means are easy enough to fulfil. If they can't count on me for the simplest things, why would they even bother calling me friend?

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