Ask a Question, Get no Answer (and other General Communication Failures)

There are apparently questions that do not warrant answers because they are actually hostile requests to leave you alone. There are questions where either answer will get you in in huge trouble so you might as well pick the answer that you think is funny. There are apparently statements and requests that are so insulting the person you make the statement to is allowed to make a much larger dramatic deal of it than the statement or request warrants.

“Why do you want to know?”

So, at various times when I was a kid and also much older I would have people randomly asking me personal questions. I had been told not to answer personal questions from people I did not know, and had a general dislike of talking about myself to begins with. Unfortunately, when I’d ask “why do you want to know?” people heard, “mind your own business.” On the occasions when I would say “no, really, why do you want to know?” People would say “never mind, it’s not important,” which was just plain confusing.

“Please don’t touch me/don’t touch me.”

I do not like being suddenly touched by people unless I know them very well. I find it to be extremely unpleasant at best and utterly infuriating at worst. People who apparently like touching other people without permission become enormously offended at this simple request. I’ve had encounters with (usually male) individuals who would take such deep offense that they would in an exaggerated manner inform all and sundry, “Oh, no, don’t touch Rena, she will bite your head off!” One genius, after I told him not to touch me because he had patted me in an extremely inappropriate place (upper thigh, way too close to my crotch) hastened to explain that he wasn’t molesting me when I protested.

I have occasionally touched people who did not want to be touched and have generally been very apologetic. I myself do not have a strong idea of when it’s okay to touch someone, so I tend to avoid touching anyone. (Certain parties can affirm that I do not know how to interact with people in a physical manner.)

“Do you like boys?” and “Do you like boys or girls?”

This question was often asked when I was in grade school and junior high. This question is an evil, evil trap because if you say you like boys you will be made fun of because you are now a slut. If you say you like girls, you will be made fun of and probably beaten up because you are a “lesbie.” Throughout most of grade school I did not have a strong understanding of what homosexuality was, and only had a vague notion that it was something that would get you beaten up, and it was connected with getting beaten up if you said you liked girls and happened to be one. Since either answer was obviously wrong, my solution was to state “I hate everyone equally!” This covered all of the bases and to me at least, was funny.

“So and so likes you.”

This in my experience was generally a lie. After I confirmed this with the other person the first few times it happened, my general response was “well I don’t like him,” or “why would I care?” I am glad that no variation of this particular line has been used on me in decades.

“So and so is talking about you.”

This was most likely true, but I generally didn’t care, and would say so. It was generally upsetting if I knew the details of what I said, but I didn’t look at it as anything I could change or affect. This is also something that hasn’t been said to me in an extremely long time.

Saying my name.

People tend to think it’s funny to say someone’s name, and then when you turn around to ask what they wanted they go “I didn’t say anything!” This is not only not funny, but also annoying because later they get in a huff because you ignored them when they actually had a question. I have had this happen to me when I was in my twenties even, which is sad.

“What are you reading?”

This is generally a difficult question to answer. I have been called a Satanist because I was reading fantasy or science fiction. I have had people act as if I have two heads when I try to explain the story. I have had people state moronic things like “that could never happen,” or tell me that what I was reading was a waste of time. Since I dislike having my reading tastes dissed I tend to have very flippant responses. Unfortunately, these responses are generally extremely insulting if the reactions to them are any indication. “You wouldn’t like it,” is the one that seems to be the most insulting. The other one is usually “a book,” or “a story.”

“[Boys] are teasing you because they like you.”

This is also a lie, and I tend to doubt the intelligence of the person who says this.


Filed under skool daze, speshul thinking, the past, work stories

3 responses to “Ask a Question, Get no Answer (and other General Communication Failures)

  1. "What are you reading?" is also almost always asked while I am reading something, which INTERRUPTS MY READING.My usual answer is just to show them the book cover and try to keep reading, but it almost never works.If the conversation that followed ever went "Oh, I like that author, have you read X?" I would be less sigh-ful about it, but notsomuch. Unless it happens in line at ComicCon.-MP

  2. People always seem to think that if you're reading it's okay to interrupt to ask you what the book's about. Why, I have no idea.

  3. Don't you get it? If you're reading, you are not paying attention to THEM! Some people seem to find this intolerable.Other people seem to think that the only reason a person would read is because they are intolerably bored, since no one is talking to them – and they'll fix that for you!Idiots, the lot of them.

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