A few days ago, EntirelyForced posted a blog. This itself is not a shock. This is, after all, a website that leans towards blogging. What was a surprise, for this particular poster, was that I agreed with the bulk of his statements. Not all, of course; his penchant for wearing odd socks marks him as a degenerate for whom there is no rehabilitation. No—what I did agree with was his dislike of being questioned. But whereas his hatred emanates from a passive-aggressive relationship with his lanky, socially inept housemate whom he wishes to throw out the window, my issues flow from a different stream entirely.
For me, or at least the people with whom I have the misfortune to interact on a daily basis, the questions are always some low-effort attempt at small-talk. Or, worse still, they are done for no-talk; but instead serve as some weird necessity to fill every crevice of silence with the filling agent of noise. The questions are never so much questions: they are simply fillers, but all the same, an answer is expected to them.
Mr Forced might grind his teeth at such a pointless question as ‘Why is there a sock on the floor?’—but compared to my own situation, these at least lead to some minor conversation, from which a point and counter-point can arise. If either he or his roommate were creative, or conspiratorial, they could even invent some false reality wherein a sock demon appears from a portal in their sink to litter the house with mismatched, often dirty, footwear. There may even be two demons, one a force for good and the other a force for ill, who have chosen the hallway between the two bedrooms as the pitch for their battle. Just as God and Lucifer pitched their battle for the mortal world at the footsteps of the Brocken, so too do these two demons do likewise in a two-bed flat on the third floor of an unattractive town in an expensive county in a rapidly failing country.
As for in my day to day life of these pointless questions, there is no follow-on because the question is never a question in a real sense, it is a basic observation which somehow still requires an affirmative or negative response. Just this past weekend I can point to the following examples:
While standing outside in the wind: ‘It’s cold… it’s cold, isn’t it?’
While driving to the shops: ‘Oooh it’s a bit bright… hm?’
While I have a drink in my hand: ‘Do you have a drink?’
Watching the Shrewsbury versus Liverpool match: ‘Liverpool are the ones in red?’
While the washing machine is halfway into its cycle, and while they were standing directly in front of the currently spinning machine: ‘Is the washing machine on?’
While watching The Masked Singer: ‘Is this the singing contest with the masked celebrities?’
It is bizarre. But what is more bizarre is this: if I do not answer these non-questions, I am the bad person for not helping someone reach the answer—an answer that is so mind-numbingly obvious that the question itself is an insult. Perhaps this hatred stems from my hatred of authority, which manifests itself as taking umbrage when somebody expects something of me when I have no desire to offer it. But more so, in some ways, I point to the reliance on technology as the reason for these stupid pieces of word salad. Having in the palm of your hand the answers to all of life’s questions has stunted the intellectual capacity of everybody to such an extent that critical thinking—nay, thinking in general—has become a lost art known only to the few. I half expect that people now begin their day by asking Alexa if what they are doing is breathing.
To cure this malady, I think, at the very least, a rule should come into play permitting the person being asked the question to tap over the head with a spoon the person asking the question.
Nobody comments on these anyway. I am glad for that in my own way, because it stops me from having to pretend a stupid comment is anything but just that.