Poor delivery man - he picked the wrong day to tangle with me. We have our groceries delivered on a Wednesday at 5pm. I am out and it is my husband's job to receive them and put them away. Quite often the Tesco van pulls up a little early and I end up hurriedly stashing the frozen goods in the freezer before I leave the house. Yesterday, the phone rang at 4:20, the van was round the corner, could he drop the bags off early? Now I know from talking to these guys that they are under tight time controls and getting ahead is really helpful. But I also had two tearful children, an unfinished painting on the table and fresh tea in the pot. I did not want to give up the minutes it would take to unload the crates, unpack the bags and deal with the chilled food. I wanted this time for myself and for my children. I felt guilty, I felt bad, I felt uncomfortable, but I managed to say 'no'. I was pretty pleased with myself, a baby step in establishing my boundaries.
I was incensed when the driver pulled up five minutes before five o'clock. When he rang on the door-bell I pointed out that he was early, that I booked a delivery slot that was convenient to me and this wasn't it. He mumbled something about his watch being fast. We unloaded all the goods and, as I signed his electronic machine, I noticed that it stated quite clearly the time as 16:57. I pointed this out to the driver too.
I don't find boundaries easy to establish or maintain and, as I read Townsend and Cloud's "Boundaries" for the second time, I am beginning to learn where and how I can build them. It wasn't a big deal really, the Tesco man coming early, but it felt like a violation of crucial principle. I had said 'no' and it had not been listened too. The disproportionate anger I felt at this over-stepping tells me how new and raw this issue is for me, how precious my 'no' is and how I am beginning to grasp that my time is my own to give away as I choose, not as is demanded of me.