It’s a question of stupidity, right?

Today at work I received an email. Well, to be honest, I received a whole boatload of emails, but this one in particular stood out from the rest.

It was from one of the ladies I work with and it read:

‘Dan, can you do something for me please?’

That was it. No follow up. No elaboration. Just that one, simple, pointless question.

I thought long and hard about it for almost a whole millisecond before typing this reply to her:

‘How am I supposed to answer that?

If I say yes and you ask me to kill a man, then I would feel committed to an act I may not be entirely comfortable with.

If I say no and you ask me to help you cheer up a terminally ill child in hospital, then I would be a heartless bastard.

So I’m going to sit here and soon enough you’ll ask me to do whatever it is you need me to do :-D’

I won’t lie, it wasn’t well received.

But when you think about it, it’s a pretty redundant question. I mean, social etiquette forces me into a corner with this one. The only possible answer I could realistically give is ‘yes’, otherwise I’m just a bit of a cock.

And what then? All she would know is that I am CAPABLE of doing something for her, but with no clue if I would actually DO it. After all, I didn’t know myself IF I’d do it, only that I COULD.

If so inclined.

Which I wasn’t.

Probably.

If a genie were to appear in a puff of smoke and, instead of granting wishes, offered her the answer to any question of her choosing, she would probably reply “what, I can ask any question I want?”

“yes”

> Poof <

This got me thinking of all the redundant questions I’ve been asked in my life. The ones that simply don’t satisfy the basic purpose of a question, which is to gain information or clarity.

I don’t include rhetorical questions in all this because they don’t really require an answer. What would be the point in that?

No, I’m talking about genuine questions I’ve heard in my lifetime that serve no purpose other than to use up more oxygen than brain cells.

For example; “Can I ask you a question?”

It’s a lot like “Dan, can you do something for me please?” in the fact that after the socially required answer of “yes”, you STILL need to ask the question you actually wanted to ask in the first place.

Some picky grammar nazis might say that the question in itself is a paradox because you’re asking someone if you can ask them a question, in a question; therefore leaving the recipent without a choice.

But not me, I would never do that.

And what about; “Are you still reading that book?” when I’m sat there, book in hand, reading it.

No mate, i’m deep frying a chicken.

The same goes for “why are you watching this?” or “how can you eat that?”; both of these can be answered with “because I like it”, or “fuck off”.

Take your pick. Both are effective and surprisingly relevant.

And there’s the multifaceted irritant that is, “Do you know what I mean?”, or “Do you know what i’m saying?”, or “Do you see what i’m getting at?”, or “Does that make sense?”, or “Do you get me?” at the end of practically every sentence.

I can appreciate using it from time to time when speaking to someone at great length. In fact, my job as a trainer requires me to check throughout the day if the content is making sense, but I don’t use it at the end of practically every sentence.

If you’re that unsure the person you’re speaking to knows what you’re saying, either communicate more effectively or shut up.

The latter would be preferable.

Know what I mean?

Stupid Questions

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Hitting birds

This morning at the train station there was a large concentration of feathers halfway along the platform.

Either there had been a pillow fight over the weekend (which, in my typical male mind, was between two giggling girls wearing next to nothing), or an unsuspecting pigeon received a massive faceful of train.

With no sign of a body, or a pillowcase, we’ll never know which type of bird got a battering.

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Buddha, broken legs and bell-ends

There are some mornings, like yesterday’s, that really highlight all the things I love* about sharing my train journey with people.**

It started with the loud group of lads who boarded the train at Gatwick Airport; five young, loud examples of British testosterone…in shorts.

Fortunately I’d chosen not to sleep on the train that morning, apparently. It seemed I was only closing my eyes for effect; of which it had none.

As much as I’m not a fan of loud people on the train having loud conversations with each other, I was willing to forgive them as it was clear they were at the end of their time together and were still buzzing.

We’ve all done it.

We’ve all been there.

What I was not willing to forgive was three of them sat at one table (randomly leaving a blank fourth seat) with their suitcases piled high like a massive game of duty-free Jenga, one sat across the aisle from them at the other table next to a man reading his book (with two remaining empty seats) and the last one sat three rows back behind my wife and I.

Where’s the sense and logic in that?

The train was practically empty, so why didn’t they just sit together?

Maybe a couple of them wanted to sleep?

Maybe they’d fallen out and argued on their holiday resulting in that awkward silence the rest of us were so desperately hoping for.

Nope.

They just continued to have their loud conversation across the entire carriage about ‘Natalie’ and ‘Gabriela’ and ‘Sam’, and who had added who on Facebook.

It’s OK guys, feel free to be as loud as fuck because I’m clearly not sleeping and that bloke at the table you’ve sat next to is clearly not reading his book. I think he’s more than happy to just sit there and admire the pretty words.

As expected, their conversation was the usual inane recounting about specific events of their holiday, whilst being extremely vague.

“What about that bloke at that place with the thing who seemed to be in every bar; the one that thought he was black but wasn’t!?””

“Oh yeah!” (said the other four, in unison)

Yeah? What about him?

Nothing. That’s what…nothing.

Soon enough the train started to get busier and the seats and aisles started filling with other commuters also discovering they didn’t wanting to sleep or read either, especially those who had chosen to sit in the empty seats confusingly left vacant by these flip-flop’d fools.

And speaking of vacant; these socially challenged pretty boys*** continued to buck the rules of public transport etiquette by communicating at top volume until their poorly chosen seating arrangements finally got the better of them and they (for want of a better phrase) shut the fuck up.

Ah, bliss.

This meant I could sleep.

But wait, no it didn’t.

You see, the woman in the seat in front of me had this weird habit of banging her head on the headrest of her seat as she spoke to her colleague. It was like she’d rest her head after every sentence, thus continuously bumping the seat.

I’d never seen someone with the utter inability to keep her head still while she talked.

It wasn’t a weird tick or anything, as I would never mock the disabled, but she just gestured a lot and then kept bumping her head against the headrest at the end of every sentence.

“That’s a really good point”
*bump*
“But maybe we should evaluate the business model further?”
*bonk*
“I feel we should raise the matter in the meeting this afternoon”
*donk*
“Don’t you?”
*thud*

It was non stop.

So why was this an issue for me? Well, being 6ft tall my knees were pressed up against the back of her seat, so every 2 or 3 seconds I would get a wake up nudge from this bobble headed bint.

I thought about breaking off my legs and beating her to death with them…

*thwack!*

…but instead I somehow managed to fold my legs under me like a contorted Buddhist and closed my eyes again.

As I placed my head back onto my own headrest I felt a weird, bumpy texture.  My brain registered that it was actually the back of someone’s hand. The man stood in the aisle next to me had strangely placed his hand on my seat’s headrest, right behind my head.

Of course, with a whole network of handrails and handles to hold onto, it makes sense to steady your balance on someone’s seat; right behind their head!

Anyway, I jerked forward (as anyone would), turned to look up at him and, being very British, apologised.

In fact, we both did.

His was sincere.

just shut up

* loathe

** idiots

*** the sort of guys with a more comprehensive beauty regime than most women.  I swear one of them had shaved arms.

 

Rubik’s Tube

This guy was stood in front of me on the London Underground this morning.

Wearing a Rubik’s Cube T-shirt whilst completing a Rubik’s Cube one handed.

I couldn’t decide whether to ridicule or respect him. Could I do both?

It’s a puzzle.

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A sign that things are rubbing me up the wrong way

Today, whilst exiting a burrito shop during our lunch break, my wife and I saw a massage parlour with a sign outside offering a “Walk-in back rub”.

Considering the shop was in a pedestrianised road with no vehicle access, I did wonder exactly how else they expected us to enter the palour without, well, walking in.

I suppose we could draw numbered chalk squares in front of their door and hopscotch in, but that just seems a bit extreme.

Plus, I’d left my chalk in my other coat.

This got me thinking.

What if I’m drunk? Would they refuse to accept ‘stagger-in’ customers? Mind you, that’s probably for the best; i’d fall asleep, fart and promptly vomit on their floor. Then every customer would be a ‘slide-in’.

And what if we danced in? Would they shun those of us who choose to Merengue through their door (cha cha cha)? Dancers need back rubs too.

What about wheelchair users, clowns on unicycles, or those on horseback?

And what if I’d tripped on a paving stone and accidentally stumbled through the door and into their parlour? One could argue that I’d ‘tripped in’, but what if they hadn’t actually seen the trip and only saw the moment where i’d regained my balance? Would I be obliged to purchase a back rub?

After the baby sized burrito we’d just eaten they could market them as a ‘walk-in burping’.

As we strolled away, I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of adding a ‘g’ to their sign.

A ‘walking back rub’ would be perfect, as time was running out and we needed to get back to work.

ministry of silly walks