So here I am chatting to a woman I meet at a car boot, and I tell her I’m going on holiday, and she asks, ‘Anywhere nice?’
‘No, actually,’ I want to reply. ‘I’m going to Mordor.’
In reality I brightly replied ‘Greece,’ because I’m only rude when I’m drunk, or not paying attention. (Which probably amounts to the same thing.)
When I was at the doctor’s a few months ago, a neighbour came into the waiting room and said, ‘Hey! How are you?’ (Desired answer: I’ve got bubonic plague. Actual answer, Oh, I’m fine. You?’)
Why do we ask stupid questions? Why do people look at a new baby and ask, ‘Is he good?’ To which again, you want to reply, ‘No, he’s been inside for gbh.’
When two people meet in hell, one of them is bound to ask the other, ‘Hot enough for you?’ And when Captain Scott was trudging to the North Pole, I’d be prepared to bet a passing Eskimo greeted him with a, ‘Hi Bob! Cold enough for you?’
I was smugly seething about all this, because of course, I never ask stupid questions – until I remembered that last week, when a friend said they were going on holiday, I asked: ‘Anywhere interesting?’
She answered in much the same way as I had done, but I can’t remember where it was, (not that interesting, then) so not only did I ask a pointless question, I didn’t bother listening to the answer.
But maybe, that’s just it – we’re not looking for detailed answers. We are just registering an interest in someone we know; a sort of Facebook like. Which means I can now meet any daft question with the newly standard answer lol. Although, is that rude?