Being a Good Guy Takes Great Effort

Warning: This is a long post.
Sometimes trying to be nice can be awfully time-consuming and mentally exhausting. About six years ago I had bought a television set for my classroom, since there were no other pieces of AV equipment in the school, this at least gave me the ability to show movie clips to my classes. These being American culture and language practice classes, this was often a valuable supplement. Students even learned to hook their computers to it to show PowerPoint presentations

However when we moved into the new building, it was no longer necessary to have a television. I changed over to using a projector with my laptop computer. Of course I bought the laptop as well as the projector myself so that my students would have full access to it; we needn’t worry about sharing it with other faculty.

The television has been sitting in my office for these last few years and really wanted to get rid of it with my leaving the university. My first thought was to give the television to an orphanage, so I had a private student contact an orphanage to ask if they would be able to take it. He said that they would like it, but wouldn’t be able to retrieve it. We do not have a car and without a license cannot borrow one. My student offered, but his car was in for repairs. Time went by and nothing happened; I didn’t raise the issue again.

Next, I asked our massage therapist who uses one of our rooms quite frequently, if he could contact the orphanage and see if they would be able to come get the television. The administrator at whichever orphanage he contacted, wanted the TV, but wasn’t particularly keen on having to pick it up. This once again left me in the black hole of television adoption; a homeless TV was sitting alone in my office with others who wanted it, but no one wanting to make the effort to come get it.

Now that we’re at the end of the semester, my days at the university are numbered. Desperation was setting in wanting to get rid of the TV as soon as possible. A woman on Facebook, a member of a number of Budapest groups, has written a number of times collecting clothes for an orphanage. I sent her a note to ask if she could possibly either pick up the TV to deliver it or find someone who could. She wrote back within an hour and said she would be in touch with someone who would contact me. The next day I received a call from a gentleman who works for the Irish Hungarian Chamber of Commerce. He asked about the television, but then told me he would contact the director of the orphanage in Göd, only to have him contact me directly to arrange a pick-up. Why he didn’t do this initially, without calling me first, I am not sure.

The director did call me and arranged to pick up the television on Tuesday morning. He asked if he could come for it at 8 AM. I wasn’t thrilled with the early hour, but I agreed anyway as the last option to get rid of the thing. I told him where to meet me – in front of the building where my office is and I sent him an SMS with the instructions.

Monday evening I had a headache I couldn’t get rid of. Taking multiple aspirins didn’t relieve the pain; my head was still pounding. Hoping sleep would finally evict it, I went to bed. I woke up at 5 o’clock in the morning with my head throbbing. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so what did I do, but read. Not the best option when you have a headache. Half an hour later I decided to try to take a little nap in the recliner in the living room. I set my phone for 7:15 AM giving me enough time to jump in the shower before walking over to school. I quickly fell asleep and was in a deep sleep when the phone started shouting at me. I hit the phone turning off the noise it was making, jumped out of the chair, and into the shower post haste. As I was getting out of the shower I heard the alarm on my phone. I couldn’t understand why; I thought I had turned off the alarm already. 

When I looked at the phone there was a missed call. I ignored it, continued to get dressed, and was about to walk out the door when the phone rang again. It was the director of the orphanage asking me if we can postpone meeting until 2 o’clock in the afternoon, because his daughter was sick; he needed to stay home with her. I agreed gratefully and wandered back to bed to continue my nap.

At 2 o’clock, the director called me again to say that he was almost at the university and will look for parking space on the side street I recommended. It was not possible for him to park on the main street, because of the bus lane with absolutely no parking. I told him that after he parked I would wait for him in front of the large green doors described in detail over the phone. As I was standing there waiting, I realized I had forgotten my keys to my office. I knew that by now all of the cleaning staff would have left for the day, so it would be difficult to find anyone to let me in. 

I called Ron and asked him to please please bring me my keys, which he did. However, in the meantime, the director called stating he was still hunting for a parking space. I told him to hold on while I brought my phone to the guard in the back of the building. I would have him ask the guard if it was possible to drive onto the property making it easier to transport the TV to his car. I did this and the guard spoke to him at great length, all the while pointing at places the wild yonder, but looking sympathetic to the issue at hand, but then hung up. In a quandary not knowing what decision had been made, again I had to call the director to finalize the plan. While he was speaking to the guard, he had actually found a parking space on the side street. I thought since he parked the car he was going to come and meet me in order to assist with the move, but I was wrong.

Ron and I went to my office where the TV has been sitting on a wheeled cabinet. We rolled the cabinet down the hallway to the elevator, through the building and attempted to get it out the back door. There was a lintel in the doorway. In an effort to get the cabinet over this hurdle, I yanked on the handle of one of the drawers. Of course, being cheap furniture, the hand broke in two. As a last ditch effort, we lifted both the cabinet, heavy on its own accord, with the TV and over the threshold like an overweight bride.

Fortunately there is a ramp near this door; it was easy going until we reached the ground. From there we had to roll it across the campus. This took a good 15 minutes to push the cabinet with the TV sliding one way and the other across the campus to the exit near the director’s parked car. When we were finally closing in on the exit, a delivery truck unloading boxes was blocking out access to the last section of the sidewalk that connected to the public access sidewalk on the other side of the gate. Again, we had to lift the cart and the TV up and over before we could continue to roll it to freedom. Abusing the cabinet caused one of the wheel covers to fall off.  Grabbing it with the intention of replacing it later, I shoved it in my pocket.

With the TV finally at the rendezvous point; we couldn’t see the director anywhere. He said he had a silver car, but there were multiple silver cars on the street with yet more driving down the street. For the umpteenth time, I called him. He was sitting in his car, which was five cars away from where we were standing. He found us, but wanted us to wheel the TV down to his car. I told him I didn’t think the cabinet could take much more exploitation with the weight of the TV. I suggested that he pull his car back up to where we were, but since this was a one-way street he would have to be back it up four car lengths in order to reach us. He was hesitant to do this, but I told him I would stand in the road to stop traffic. Fortunately at that moment, there was very little traffic, so it was not life threatening; however one woman stubbornly decided that she needed to drive around me. My standing in the road with two arms outstretched signaling to stop, apparently did not mean much. Is the signal different in Hungarian? He was finally able to get back to where we were so we were able to successfully put the television in the backseat. I gave him the owner’s manual, the remote control, wished him luck and said goodbye.

Ron and I had to push the cart back up to my office where it was put back in place. Before going home, I looked through some of my cabinets getting some other trinkets that needed to be taken home, when I discovered the remote control for the television. Pausing to think about what it was that I had given the director, it was the remote control for my projector. I decided I would call him later and let him know.

After returning home, I became preoccupied with other things. Later that afternoon when I was heading to a private student for a lesson, I started texting the director while walking down the street. My phone has an automatic fill-in for known words, so it was very easy to text “Hi, I realized later that I gave you the wrong remote control. I also have a bag of Legos that I wanted to give you and I forgot about them. If you know of anyone near my area I will be happy to bring them the remote and the Legos.” And I signed it with what I thought was Ryan. It wasn’t until I pressed the send button that I realized that my phone had typed in Susan. I was embarrassed and mortified, so I sent another text stating this is Ryan not Susan, my phone misnamed me. I never did hear back from him. He may have decided he doesn’t need the remote or the Legos. Sometimes it just takes a great deal of effort to be a good guy.

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