We all want to connect to each other in some way, don’t we? That’s why we reach out to our peers and ask them how they’re doing when we see them on the street. The problem that arises though is the tendency to spout off colloquialisms as if someone is pulling a string on our back. For example, when you see someone after the holidays, the pullstring question is “How was your Christmas?” I don’t mean to say that this question is never a sincere, but it seems like more often than not people just say it without really wanting to know the answer. They just feel like they have to. Those kind of questions are the ones I don’t really want to be asked, and when I am, I try to make my answer either ridiculous or misleading to confuse the other person.
When I was in the later part of my college years, I was frequently asked what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t hate the question as much as I hated every answer I gave, because I didn’t want to admit that I had no idea. Add to that an uncertainty about when I would actually receive my degree, and you can probably guess how stressful my twenties were. The weight of deciding what you want to do with your life is pretty heavy. It messes with my mind because there are too many possibilities for me to pick just one. I never thought to ask how the people asking the question, mostly my parents, decided what they wanted to do with their lives or even if they had put any thought into it. I know now that they didn’t really care what I chose, so long as it was not to continue to deliver pizza. This is the hindsight I have which makes the experience much more amusing now than it was then. I like to take my insight and share it with kids that look like they’re going through what I went through. I ask that horrible question, but when the scrunch up their faces and stare at the floor, I like to try and reassure them that it’s OK not to know. I mean, I’m 32 and I still haven’t figured it out completely.
Of all the times when people ask questions that make me uncomfortable, death is probably the worst. People just don’t know what to say. The stupidest question people ask is “Are You OK?” The answer I give is “no” which catches some people off guard, but I’m usually a little too honest when I’m grieving. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t want anyone to ask me any questions during this time. That won’t happen, though. People are going to want to connect in some way. I must confess that I have asked this question, too, knowing how futile it is. Sometimes you just can’t keep the words from coming out.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Plead the Fifth.”