Sunday, April 10, 2005


The role of questions in relationships. Discuss.

It's a culture thing. Don't believe me? Two scenarios might suffice.

One. I drove Idris to t'dentist's t'other day. Drove past. No parking space anywhere. Continued on about 50 yards, turned right into a side street, swiftly turned it round and pulled in to the side of the road. Idris turns to me and asks, "Do you want me to get out here?"

Two. Idris heads off with Froggy for nursery school in the morning, leaving me with a shopping list just in case I have time to make it to the cash and carry inbetween marking scripts and work in the late afternoon. I finished marking about an hour before work so I grabbed the list, pell melled it out of the house, zoomed round Interfruct in record speed, loaded everything into the car and just made work on time. I was home before the girls as they were at a concert. Idris walks in, glances into the conversatory and observes, "You didn't take the empties back then?"

Now, I would not wish to prejudice your reactions in any way whatsoever by immediately limning my own in too impatient a manner, so I would ask you just to take a short moment of your no doubt valuable time and consider how you might have interpreted these two interrogatory utterances; let's call them, for the sake of simplicity, one and two.

Was it...


1. A simple request for information as to my preference for her next course of action.
2. A simple comment on an observed situation?

Or was it...


1. A thinly veiled criticism of my inability to find anywhere nearer.
2. Accentuating the negative aspects of my overall shopping performance?

If you answered A, then you are no doubt female and/or Hungarian. B and you are male and/or English.

I don't know. Cross-cultural co-habitation, eh? Two trains on two divergent tracks heading for a collision.

Another question for you. Do you think that Michael Howard's attempt to focus on immigration is the first sign of electile dysfunction in an aging leader of the opposition?

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