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Archive for November, 2005

Socially Weird Questions

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

Let me start off by saying that I am by no means an expert on etiquette or protocol. I don’t care much for formalities or anything like that; I’m a fairly laid-back guy. However, I’m still well aware of the fact that there are certain things you don’t ask people, particularly if they’re strangers. Maybe it’s my problem for not being very talkative, but I don’t appreciate going into a store or restaurant and having one of the employees ask me weird, overly personal questions.

Examples:

  • Ruth and I had just had a bad day at work. It was a Friday, and we had originally thought we’d be doing something with her friends immediately after work, so we came in late and stayed late so that we could go straight there. Turns out we misunderstood and had the wrong day, so we stayed late for nothing. Traffic back to Provo was absolutely horrible. We were both very ornery and hungry, so we got off the freeway and went somewhere to eat. The first thing our waitress asked was, “Are you having a good day?” Not “How are you doing?” which can be answered with a vague and noncommittal response, but a much more personal question, the answer to which I did not feel like sharing. I smiled tightly and said, “It’s been a long day.”
  • The other day Ruth and I went to a music store to get some music for the upcoming Christmas program at church. At the checkout counter, Ruth decided to pay with a check so that it would be easier to get reimbursed from the bishopric. As she’s writing the check, the guy at the counter asks, “So who pays the bills in your family?” What? Too stunned to say, “I don’t think that’s any of your business,” I answered, “Uh, I do, I guess.” He seemed satisfied with that. Then, a few moments later, he asked, “So, do you do it all online?” I answered that I did, and he said that he was trying to get his wife to do the same. What in the crap?
  • I was at Wal-Mart the other day buying my new watch, and I decided to grab some cereal while I was there (because they have good cereal for cheap). As I was buying the cereal, the checker said, “I see you’re cursed with curly hair, too.” I laughed one of those short, fake social laughs, the kind that always fills me with self-loathing, and said, “Yeah, I guess so.” I haven’t actually felt like my hair was a curse since Cicada convinced me to grow it out. Then, as I was just about to leave, she asked me what kind of moisturizer I use. “For my hair, you mean?” “Yeah,” she said. “Just regular Suave stuff,” I said and shrugged, edging toward the door. ” “Oh. My hair’s too dry.” Um, okay, thanks. Why do I care to know that? I think I offered some sort of noncommittal grunt of sympathy and turned to leave.

What’s up with people? Have we thrown all social code out the window? Have we no concept of what’s proper and improper anymore? This world is already hard enough for an introvert like me, and sometimes I feel like it’s only going to get worse. Maybe I’ll just crawl in a hole and stay there and wait for the Armageddon between the introverts and extroverts, when the cruel oppressors shall be thrown down and stop trying to force their way into our lives, and the meek shall truly inherit the earth.

Posted by Jonathon at 1:45 pm | 10 Comments »