Real Talk: Fake Emergencies and Real Pain

in #writing3 years ago (edited)


I've said this before. I work in the shipping industry and I deal with the public on the daily. Everyone has an urgent problem that they absolutely need my help with. They tell me they are waiting on a very important package. It's life or death, really, but they have to leave for their honeymoon in Vegas and they want to know if I'm a wizard who can call upon the guardians of the northern dawn and sacrifice a goodly hen to teleport their shiny new butt-plug to their doorstep right now. Strangely, they never seem to realize that I wouldn't need my job if I knew that kind of legit magic.

I am almost always unmoved by the problems of my line. People blow things out of proportion. They think they can get special treatment if they make their situation sound like an emergency. I am wise to it and even if I wasn't, there's often nothing I can do for them. They want to know if we are still holding an item that was supposed to be delivered nine months ago, because its super important (but not important enough to come calling for sometime in the last nine months). It isn't there. It hasn't been there for eight months but they ask me if I can just go in the back and check anyway because its super important, of course, and they had a dream that told them that it is there so, therefore, it must be there. I tell them no and they call me an asshole.


I am not an asshole, in fact (I don't think I am, anyway), but there are days where it would make my life less painful and today was one of those days. A customer came to me with a problem but I couldn't dismiss her the way I do with all those who come, asking me to mend their self-inflected wounds. When she walked out the door, I was utterly devastated.

A girl walked in to my lobby today. She was pretty and very slight, maybe a little too skinny but still extremely attractive. Sadly, she was too young for me (probably twenty or there abouts). I still like to flirt though so I called her over to me before one of the others could snatch her up for themselves. She approached and told me she was afraid her items were being returned and wanted to know if there any way to intercept them. I asked her why she thought that. She explained that she had been living with her parents but wasn't living there anymore. I asked if she could just pick her stuff up there. She said no. I asked if there was anywhere else she could receive her things, like wherever she was staying now, for example. I could see moisture welling up in her eyes and the small muscles in her lips begin to twitch into a frown as I was asking the question. By the time I had finished it, she had begun to cry. She stood there, looking lost and afraid like a shaking chihuahua in the middle of a busy street, and told me that she is "bouncing from place to place" and has no one who will let her use their address. I explained some work-arounds while she gathered herself. I quietly said a kind word or two and the tears began to return to her eyes before she turned to quickly walk away.


I don't know what her exact story was but she didn't have to tell it for me to know it's some kind of fucking heartbreaking. I wanted to help in some way, honestly. I wished I could but I knew me offering anything to such a young girl, who is an absolute stranger to me no less, would be highly inappropriate, come off as creepy or sexual, and ultimately be poorly received by everyone involved.

I've been kind of fucked up by that interaction all day. I halfway hope she comes back tomorrow and if she does, I might say fuck it and roll those creepy-ass-sugar-daddy-adjacent-dice and offer to pay six months of a PO box for her somewhere. I don't know what it was about her that stuck with me but there was something genuine about her pain that I couldn't dismiss. Am I a creep because I want to help a beautiful but way too young woman that I found sexually attractive or is the world fucked up because I have to consider whether I'm a creep because I wanted to help a human being who is clearly in a really bad place? Maybe, it's both? It's probably both, isn't it?

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An interesting conundrum. Would you have hesitated to offer that if it was a man in the same situation? Did you feel you couldn't because of that potentially "inappropriate" attraction you felt which made you over think how others or her might view the offer?