March 14, 2013

Can I Ask You a Question?

Can I be honest?
I recently spent a few of my days off at home. With just me in the house, it was very quiet (minus the cats) and I enjoyed our peaceful neighborhood on the fringe of Lakeland, Florida. But one morning, as I pushed through the overgrown palm fronds to get the newspaper, I heard a clamor that was neither the cattle mooing behind our house nor me swearing at the ridiculously overgrown palm fronds. It was a grown man down the street having a conversation with another man at a volume the whole neighborhood could hear, except the "conversation" was really just Yelling Man A squawking at Standing Man B. As I pretended to be caught in the palm tree so I could eavesdrop, I realized that we too often ask questions that we don't let be questions.

Questions that aren't given the chance to be questions:

"Can I be honest with you?"This question really means, "I'm about to be terribly blunt and say something you don't want to hear." For example, this is what Yelling Man A said to Standing Man B before he went on a tirade about how the motorcycle in their potential transaction was really a piece of shit and not worth anything close to what Standing Man wanted. Nothing good usually comes from this question, and the other party is never given a chance to answer before the person starts ranting and making personal attacks. If you're lucky enough where the asker takes a breath before the diatribe, just say "no" and run.
And why is this even a question? Who wants someone to be dishonest and lie?

"Can I ask you a question?" You already did without giving me a chance to say "no," and now there's another question coming.

What's up?
"What's up? This question is thrown around so casually and rarely does someone want an answer. It's also usually said in passing. If we were really going to have a conversation about how we were doing, we wouldn't be moving in opposite directions, both with other places to be. To me, it's become a synonym to "hello." So I respond with a "hi" and keep walking.
*Note: If it's a social setting where the question isn't said in passing, I don't just walk away.

"How dare you?" No one answers this question, nor is given the chance. If I call another hen a tart little heifer, she'll either respond with, "How dare you?" or "Thanks for calling me little." If I say the former, she doesn't want to know how I said it since she probably knows how to speak, she just doesn't want to hear it again - unless she enjoyed being called little.

No comments:

Post a Comment