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Thread: bother

  1. Senior Member
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    I would like to know the meaning of "I didn’t even bother to pretend with Paul." in the next writing.

    “Keep an eye on this,” said my older brother, Paul, handing me his watch.
    “What for?” I asked, absentmindedly slipping the watch onto my wrist.
    “I’m going to practice my diving.”
    “Off the high dive?” I asked.
    “Sure,” said Paul, grinning. “Want to join me?”
    I didn’t answer. Paul knew I was terrified of heights. I could manage the low board, but the high board? Never.
    I watched enviously as Paul ambled to the pool and climbed the tower. He padded to the end of the board, paused briefly, and did a perfect jackknife. It looked so easy, and he did it six times.
    “Showoff!” I muttered to myself. But I would have given anything to be able to do it myself.
    “Hey, why not?” teased a reckless voice in my head. “You’re a good swimmer. Do it just to show Mr. Know-it-all.”
    So when Paul came back, dripping water all over me, I said casually, “Guess I’ll take a turn, too.” And before Paul could make some remark, I got to my feet.
    As I walked to the tower, my legs didn’t seem to belong to me. I wobbled up the steps to the high dive and forced one foot to follow the other to the end of the rough, clammy board. Then I looked down.
    I couldn’t believe how far away the water was. I felt as if I were on the edge of a cliff with a mile of air between me and a bottomless sea. I couldn’t, I just couldn’t. I had to get back down. But there were impatient kids on the steps behind me. Would they let me by, or would they tease me until I made a wrong step? And Paul—even in my terror I dreaded what he would say. All I wanted in the world was to get back to earth, but I was paralyzed.
    Dimly I heard Paul shouting far below. “Come down right now! That’s my watch you’re wearing. If you get it wet, you’ll be sorry!”
    An unbelievably sweet relief flooded into me. Numbly, I turned and threaded my way through the waiting divers, murmuring, “Excuse me, sorry, I just forgot about the watch. . . .”
    I didn’t even bother to pretend with Paul. He said, “I could see that you were in trouble. You were scared to death, weren’t you?” I nodded miserably.
    “It happens,” said Paul matter-of-factly. “I was scared, too, the first few times off the high board. I got over it, and so will you. But for now you’re saved.”
    I stammered in surprise. “Me? I thought you were worried—I mean, you said you were worried—about your watch.”
    Paul retrieved the watch from me and patted it fondly. “This watch,” he said, grinning, “is waterproof.”

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
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    Re: bother

    It means that I didn't make an effort to pretend with Paul, or didn't take the time to pretend; I was just my honest self.

    • Join Date: Aug 2009
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    Re: bother

    Right. "Not to bother" means "not to go to the trouble of doing something."

    "I didn't even bother to try" means "I didn't take the trouble to even try."

    "I didn't bother to look up" means that I didn't even go to the trouble of looking up; I didn't even attempt it or begin to do it; I didn't even try.

    The expression makes use of the word "bother" in its sense of "fuss, trouble, discommode."

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