A friend once had a workday that was out-of-body horrible. I drove into Seattle that evening and delivered her a bottle of chocolate liqueur. I had no know idea if she would like it, but that was hardly the point. At least she knew someone noticed.
As is His custom, God punished me for my kindness. On my way home, an 18-wheeler hopped the median of the 520 bridge, and I was sitting on that bridge for 8 hours, well into the night. With a dog who deeply, truly had to go.
That's my most spectacular example of the "God punishing me for kindness" phenomenon, but it's hardly the last. I swear, if I hold a door open for someone on my way to a job interview, they'll step on my foot and break my toe, then get the job because they weren't wincing in pain during their interview.
Allie credits this unerring principle with her not being an atheist. "I used to think religion was just made-up crap. But the evidence that there is a God and that He's out to get you...it's kind of staggering."
• • •
A few months ago, Anna (1, 2) asked me if she could earn some extra money doing chores for me. "Sure," I said. "The only thing I'm planning on farming out is gardening."
She was up for it, we agreed to pay her $25/hour, and yesterday it finally happened. Kind of. She showed up with her Mom, who helped, in air quotes. For about 3 of the 10 hours Anna worked, Mom helped. The other 7 hours, she sat in my deck chair and ate my food and shouted criticism at her daughter.
Yet when the bill came, it was for 20 man-hours.
"Seriously?" I said. They had no idea what I was talking about.
"Yeah, two people, 10 hours, that's 20 hours."
I waited for them to volunteer that maybe this accounting wasn't entirely fair to me, but no such acknowledgement was forthcoming. I looked at my table, where among the empty cups of my yogurt I saw my plate holding the discarded bones of my ribs. I guess I'm just grateful that she didn't find the humidor.
Because the idea was to help get Anna money, I chose not to argue. But she also isn't going to be allowed to finish the job, nor is she ever getting another lick of help from me. This is how you know you're a fuckup. For a mere $175, she cheated her way out of a source of aid and revenue. Forever.
As I gave Anna her fraud money, I heard Allie in my head. "You know what you did wrong, right? You were being nice, and wham."