Figuring things out makes me happy. Spacial reasoning is fun for me. I can read — and even modify and write — knitting patterns. I’m good at putting IKEA furniture together. And I’m better at IT than your average Rubiatonta.

Today, I couldn’t get my fancy new wireless printer to work, even though it had been working just fine since it arrived and I’d set it up. After thinking through a number of possible fixes, it dawned on me that the problem was with the USB modem I was using, and its requirement that I enter a PIN.

So how to eliminate the need for a PIN? In digging around on some user boards, I found this suggestion: put it into a cellphone and change the setting.

Readers, it worked. I just finished printing out a bunch of pages to edit. And I’m kvelling at my ability to do complicated and annoying things by all by myself.

Of course, this American, pioneer, go-it-alone attitude isn’t always the best fit with the problems we might be facing. One of my dearest friends here read me the riot act when she found out I’d been sick in bed for a week over Christmas and hadn’t called her to ask for help. My reasoning — that it was the holidays, she has family, she was enjoying a well-earned vacation, that  I didn’t want to intrude — didn’t wash. As she pointed out, “You don’t know if I can help you unless you ask me and let me make the decision. You have to let me be your friend all the time, you know, not just when you think it’s going to be convenient for me.”

This is not the first time I’ve been reminded that we all like to be asked to help, and that I’m not quick to make those requests. Years ago, another friend said, “If you don’t let us help you, it’s like you won’t let us love you.”

‘Nuff said. After I finish my happy dance, I’m going to write myself a reminder and stick it on the mirror. “Ask. For everything.”

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