Monday, July 02, 2007

Day 356: I Know That There Is Such A Thing As A Stupid Question

I have long been astonished by the fact that wherever I am in the world, I am asked for directions (sometimes within hours of visiting a city for the first time). Interestingly, it is rarely tourists who ask me for directions; the enquiries are usually made by locals, and are utterly mundane.

Last Monday, someone in Milan asked me where the nearest launderette was; last Sunday, someone in Liverpool asked me what time Tesco closed; in Montreal in May, the time of the next train to Quebec City; in Cognac last summer, the name of the mayor. (This is not a joke.) Only yesterday someone stopped me in Amsterdam (where I live, despite actually living in London), and asked me the quickest way to Dam Square. (Do I look Italian, Canadian, Dutch, French and English all at once? If so, I must look rather odd.)

But recently I have noticed another phenomenon. I am asked endless questions by the people I work with. Not just questions about things I know about, or have an interest in, or am working on myself, but other questions about subjects that are quite patently nothing to do with me.

What is most interesting of all is the way in which these questions are asked, for there is never, for one second, any kind of doubt that I will know the answer. As a result, the tone of these enquiries can be almost belligerent. Recent enquiries have included:

Why's the football table against the back door?

The key's stuck in the lock. How do I pull it out?

How much rent do we make from the people in the attic?

Do you make a salad, or assemble it?

So, when are we going to book the Italian copywriter? (Asked at 2.30am)

When does the biscuit order arrive?

What time is my flight?

Hi, I'm (x). We haven't met. I'm (insert explanation of job). Do you know where I can hang my coat?

Hi, me (x) again. Does anyone has a waterproof I can borrow?

Hiiii!!! (Yes, it's x again). Nothing in the cupboard. So, like, where are the umbrellas?

Hi again. There aren't any umbrellas in there.

So, like, do know where I can get an umbrella?

Yeah, I suppose I could ask her, but she's on the phone though. And I need an umbrella now.

Where is (insert names of all people that have worked in the building, ever, in the last 12 months)?

How long is he/she on holiday for?

What's their strategy?

I don't get it. What time is he being picked up?

Why's my computer doing that? It does that thing there. How do I fix it?

I just want to know? Like, when we can get an Italian copywriter?

What's the weather going to be like tomorrow?

What does he think?

What does he want to do about it?

Why is he doing that?

I don't know. I don't want to know. I never will know. More importantly, I don't care. Now go away and leave me alone. I'm looking at pictures of dogs in clothes on the internet.


Anonymous said...

1. I'm afraid it's genetic.

2. Neither of our dogs is looking for a new outfit.

ChloƩ said...

Do you sometimes have the feeling these people think you are their mother or something and that they come crawling to you for advice?

I particularly hate it when someone enters my office, announces on an enthused tone "You have to tell me what you think about that idea!", confusedly explains said idea by means of lots of doodling on my not-so-white board and words which meaning I barely remember, and then demands that I say something else than "I'm not sure what you're talking about and thanks to you I can't remember how I wanted to end the sentence I was writing but it sounds great".

Anonymous said...

I clearly look like someone with lots and lots of lovely money. Or maybe who just knows about lovely money because I only ever get asked about currency. Vis: "do we need to use pesos here?" (in New Mexico. Answer - yes); "do they take dollars?" (in Alaska. Answer - no ma'am, you must use Alcans. Didn't you exchange at the border?); "Can you tell me how many Marks are in a dollar?" (in Germany. Answer - let's see, why don't you just hand me that $100 bill, I have 20 mark right here...)

Mr Farty said...

Why can't I see "I Count The Days Until My Anniversary" here, when I have already read it?

Ani Smith said...

I'm addicted to your blog. That said, with the amount of questions you seem to get, I think "non-working" is a bit of a misnomer. :o)

Dr F said...

The bra on the right hand dog is very disturbing. Why does the poor bitch have to squeeze six tits into two (admittedly quite big) cups?

Ms Baroque said...

I find this quality in you quite impressive. Launderette; Tesco; the trains; I am now racking my brains to think of a question to ask you!

Do you think there might be money in it?

bluefluff said...

Perhaps you have a kind face?

beth said...

it's because you look omnipotent


Bluefluff, I look like a monkey.

Beth. You've met me. You know the truth. I look like a monkey.

Ms B, the answer is gin.

Dr F: the dog loves it.

Ani: non-working is a state of mind. Thank you for your kind words.

Megan, Chloe: one day we shall drink together and laugh until we wee.

MM - re. (2): Too late. I've got Izzy the French Maid and Stan's got Butch Biker.


Farty - because it bored me, so I made it go away.

Anonymous said...

Ii know how you feel. People ask me stupid questions all day long.

beth said...

an omnipotent monkey

Anonymous said...

Re 2) As you've already bought them, suggest you swap the gift labels round.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin