Monday, December 22, 2008

On the Topic of the Inappropriate Question

Frames at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg

He said, "I only ask because you never know what people will tell you." Skills at deflecting inappropriate questions were not yet acquired by me. I admire this ability of other people.

I was eating whipped cream spiked with Grand Marnier --which I had scratch-made for the potluck. The loft was shared by four men. A good friend met his future wife while living there.

Many people in their early twenties have not been engaged. Also, the question of marriage was not important to me. Now, I can't imagine myself occupied by talk, the natural progression of which is the question, "Have you ever been engaged?"

I did not feel invaded. But he was attempting an invasion. These are different things.

I felt unengaged. He was eating Turducken.

Also, unexpectedly, I had a scruple based on little but my sulkiness to answer a question about my prior or non-existent engagements. (I just Roget-ed a word that brought me to page one. That was thrilling.) I was sidestepping some indefinable trespass.

After, I thought, 'There are people who ask questions only to acquire data. These people are successful.' I divide the world's people into two groups. Those who ask questions to acquire data, and those who ask questions in ignorance of the act of acquiring data. I thought, 'Every vouchsafing of information puts you at a disadvantage, if you are not, then, vouchsafed information.'

I blame this man for making me think of talk in terms of advantage and disadvantage. Blame for other divisions is as of yet undecided.

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