A daily prompt

What is one question you hate to be asked? Explain.

I manage this blog in the WordPress app but it’s about to expire. Luckily there’s a replacement, the Jetpack app, which seems to be identical except it gives you a daily prompt. I mostly ignore them, but I found myself thinking about this one at odd moments during the day.

Hate, I thought, is an awfully strong emotion, I don’t think I could hate a question! Or being asked one. There are, however, questions I find difficult to answer, and I can become irritated when asked them if I’m not careful.

Abstract questions like, what are you thinking? for example, I find almost impossible to answer in a simple way. And people always want simple answers. Maybe not all people, but most. I think in pictures or little films, not in words. So when asked what I’m thinking I have to look at the pictures or run the movies in my head and then translate them into words that make sense.

To give you some idea of what this looks like, there might be a little collage of images of, say, the things I need to attend to in the near future. And it could easily include an image of the kitchen sink full of dishes; my headphones which need to be charged before I can use them again; the coffee table which I’d like to remove the dark varnish from and its corresponding image, what I hope it will look like when I’m done; the contents of my sock drawer; castration shears and a branding iron; and my fantasy allotment juxtaposed with my actual allotment.

There may also be a little stop animation of me weeding or putting my socks away, or any of the other things I mentioned. To answer the question I first need to categorise the pictures and pick the category I think the questioner would be least bored by.

In this example, that could only be the torturous farming implements. The answer would then be something like: just work* but even if I instantly isolated the pictures and labelled them work, it would still take longer to do than most people are willing to wait.

My ex-husband used to mock me mercilessly for this: blimey Er, he’d laugh, all that for just work, what’s wrong with you! And I would wonder, what is wrong with me! **

While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me anymore, I still dislike being asked such non fact based questions. I also tend to squirm at questions whose answers depend on context. What’s your favourite colour depends on a whole host of factors. Colour doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it is a quality of light that we experience as part of other things. There are also zillions of variations of what we think of as individual colours.

I used to say green when asked, then that same ex bought me a green zippo and it was such a nauseous shade it accidentally fell behind my desk and was never seen again! So now I say grey because although it can be boring it can’t be rancid. I’ve said grey so often that I began to believe it actually was my favourite colour, to the extent I surprised myself by choosing to have the sitting room painted orange and the hall yellow. I’ve always said I loathe yellow, it being so unlike grey.

By now anyone still reading will realise I am incapable of giving a quick, tidy answer to any question that isn’t what time it is, so it’s less what is one question I hate to be asked and more what is one question 99% of people will regret asking me! And the answer to that is, all of them!

*for a recent contract I curated stuff for an online museum which usually involved photographing or scanning the exhibits and uploading them to the site.

**I now know what was wrong with me was that he was my husband.

8 thoughts on “A daily prompt

  1. I love your postscript re: your ex-husband!
    The question I dislike being asked is, “Where are you from?” It’s because of my name and complexion, I know, so I always answer truthfully that I’m from L.A. The follow-up is ALWAYS “No, I mean originally” to which I respond, San Francisco! Then it’s your parents, where are THEY from, my answer, Manhattan! Usually, the smart ones will realize that 1. I’m fucking with them, and 2. I’m American and I’m not going to tell them my ethnic background! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d forgotten that question! I used to get asked it constantly and always answered London, and then it would go exactly as you tell it here. So I began to answer with a question of my own, ‘is it my ethnic origin you want to know?’ Which would make them squirm amusingly.
      I’ve not been asked it for years now. Probably because I rarely meet new people and the ones I do meet are almost painfully polite. xoxo


  2. I hate “don’t you have the balls?” Mostly because I learned that Betty White was quite correct about the inherent weakness and vulnerability of balls. Also because my experience proved Betty’s point and I no longer have mine. I prefer “guts”. Because everyone has guts – including women and eunuchs.

    Liked by 1 person

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