Strong woman on holliday’s

What happens when you’re a strong woman going on vacation and the street is under construction and you need to get your suitcases into the car? Then you fetch the wheelbarrow from the shed and load the suitcases onto it. As a result, neighbors gather to watch. And while you’re at work, the lawn fills with new spectators. I roll up my sleeves and let my muscular arms do the work. From my athletic background, I can see it as a sport. The neighbors cheer and nod kindly. But after the last wheelbarrow, I asked them if they’d like to take a ride in it as well. They laugh. It was meant to suggest that I thought they must have been very tired because they didn’t lift a finger all the time I was moving full wheelbarrows to the car.

When I came back from vacation, a person I hadn’t seen standing on the lawn talked to me about transporting the suitcases with a wheelbarrow and he chuckled at the same time. I was shocked! I didn’t even know he had seen me!?! Felt embarrassed! Someone who enjoyed seeing me toil alone and quietly watched and enjoyed it?

When I expressed my displeasure about this to an acquaintance, the other said, “But he respects you!” I found that answer doubly worse. It assumes that such behavior is respectful. Real respect for others means helping, or if you can’t offer help, keeping quiet! Maybe this person needed protection and was afraid of my muscles. Out of fear in the way, he visibly enjoyed my struggle with the wheelbarrow. But that’s not respect; that’s Schadenfreude.



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