I just realized that sometimes, when I don't realize it, I can be easily perceived to be a nag, or a jerk or extremely critical. And ... I'm, in those situations, none of those things. (Although I accept that Joe may disagree.) Only a few seconds ago, Joe was getting ready to take a bag down to the car. I suggested he go down and get a cart. I saw his face set with exasperation and he headed downstairs.
Now Joe has handled the luggage and the packing of the car for a very long time, He's kind of an expert on the subject.
Another example, Joe was driving me home from work and I saw a spot where he could swing over and speed up and get around a slow vehicle in front of us. Joe's face set, again with exasperation, and he simply shook his head and said he'd get around the vehicle when he found a space where he thought it was safe.
Now, he's been driving since I became disabled. He gets me where I want to go safely. I know that. He's a good driver.
There are many more examples of this. Where I pipe in to his work and give my opinions and suggestions for how he can do what he does well, better.
It was only this morning, when I saw his face, that I kind of got the inkling that my helpful hint may not be really all that helpful and that it might be even worse than nagging, it might be some kind of subtle suggestion that I know better how he should do what he does well, or that, in a terribly and only slightly subtle way calling him a name. There are all sorts of ways of name calling that doesn't involve name calling.
In my head, I'm helping. I find it frustrating that the things I used to physically help Joe with, or help Joe do, I can't any more. It troubles me that he has to do this all on his own. He's getting older too and it isn't as easy for him to do what he has always done. He's open about that.
So, now Mr Helpful, being me, is leaping in with suggestions and ideas and helpful hints - which to me is saying 'I really want to be part of this, I really want to help,' but Joe's experience of that message may not be the same. I think he hears something else.
I've only just realized this.
I'm writing this as an apology to Joe - whom I love and would never want to hurt in any way.
I think my disability-thinking has made everything about me and my needs, I need to think of your and yours and maybe, just maybe, shut up. That may be the best way of helping you do what you do well.
So, I apologize, take the bags down any way you want.
You always get them there, packed in perfectly.
My need doesn't trump your ability.
I get it.
It's not about me. Shut up.