Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Changes in Gratitude

You do a favor for someone, or they do one for you. Do you expect at least a simple “thank you” and “you’re welcome” to be exchanged?

I recently found a videotape I shot of a former boss’ children at an event, with him as the person in charge. He was always supportive and friendly — a very nice, honest, hard-working man. We had enjoyed at least one lunch together after my leaving his employ. I figured it would be nice to preserve the video rather than leave it to rot on the tape.

I already had transferred the late 1990’s footage to my computer while going through my old Hi8mm cassettes. A large spindle of blank DVD-R discs sat in my computer desk drawer just begging to be used before their time was completely up, so I called him about the video. We updated one another on our lives, and he said he would love to have the event on DVD. I created one, including relevant background music in the menu screen, then shipped it off to him.

Nearly a year later, I still haven’t heard a word. A simple, “thanks,” or “the wife and I loved it,” would have been fine. I am sure he still had my e-mail address and phone number I had provided him.

Or had he even received it at all? It would have been nice to know. I admit much of the blame for my wondering is on me.

My hope in humanity is not lost, however.

A couple years ago, a high school classmate whom I had never known very well, but have come to know a bit via Facebook, contacted me regarding a DVD project. She remembered that I had created a photo music video for our class’s 20th reunion, and thought I might be willing to help with a project she had in mind for another of our classmates, with whom she had been and still was very close. I had known that particular classmate a little better because we had been in high school band together, but by no means were we ever more than acquaintances.

Always eager to work on another video project, I gladly accepted. She sent me quotes to include with several of the photos, and a preferred song list. I worked hard to incorporate it all and produce a quality slideshow that she and their friends could enjoy. I charged a nominal fee, mostly to cover materials, songs purchased, and shipping, but with a little money for my time and effort.

They gushed over it on Facebook and via e-mail, thanking me profusely. I didn’t even do that one for free, but they made sure to let me know how much it meant to the birthday girl.

This is not a scientific study, and obviously only one example from each side is not enough to form a hypothesis, let alone judgmental generalizations. There could be a male vs. female dynamic at work, as well. Is a favor vs. a paid service less likely to elicit appreciation? I’m just trying to suss out the difference here.