August 2007


Two Bad Questions

Do you want to know how to annoy me to no end?

It’s easy: Call me and after I say “Hello” ask me either one of two questions: “What are you doing?” or “Where are you?”

It happened to me in the States—somebody would call me at home, on Saturday night, at 10pm and ask me, “What are you doing?” Now, generally speaking, if you’re calling me at 10pm on a Saturday night, it had better be an emergency, or because we’d planned on talking at that time—but to call me because you’re bored and start out the conversation with “What are you doing,” will only result in me stonewalling you, or me giving a bogus answer (summary of either answer: None of your business, now bug-off).

Even more obnoxious is calling me on my mobile phone and asking me “Where are you?” This too happened to me in the States. Somebody I am acquainted with was presumptuous enough to assume that they were in a position to demand such information from me.

Now I’m not a total idiot: this is a reasonable question for a lot of friends to ask me, in the context of determining which continent I’m on or what city I am currently visiting, but to be a casual acquaintance who knew darned well that I was based in Indiana and not going anywhere, was ridiculous. The question this person was asking was basically an “are you at the grocery store” or “are you whoring around” kind of personal intrusion from somebody who should know they are not in a position to ask those kinds of questions (unlike some regular commentators on my blog).

I have a relative who sometimes calls me with questions like this, and it irritates me: I don’t mind if you’re calling to chit-chat (although 10pm on Saturday tends to be a bit on the late side), but don’t expect me to carry the initial part of the conversation: you’re the one who called.

8 comments to Two Bad Questions

  • Ed

    I have a rule no calls after 9:30 unless it’s an emergency. Asking where you are or what you are doing is as rude as asking how much money you make.
    I have an Aunt who asks how much I paid for stuff like my T.V., Car, House etc. I say I don’t remember.
    So what is your phone number? When did you have sex last? Just Kidding!

  • Jul

    Do your aquaintances happen to be Italian? This is something that amuses me to no end in Italy – eavesdrop on almost any Italian cell phone conversation, and at least 95% of the time one of the first things out of the caller’s mouth will be “Ma dove sei?”, said with an urgency which makes it clear that the conversation simply cannot move forward until location has been established. The “are you whoring around” question seems to come up somewhat less often. 🙂

  • @ed: My parents are even stricter: no calls after 8pm…

    @jul: I don’t think the acquaintance in the US is of Italian extraction, but I’m not sure. My relative, however, is.

  • Vinnie

    Jen and I pratice the 10/10 rule. No calls before 10am or after 10pm. If you do call outside of those hours, somebody better be in the hospital or dead, because that’s exactly what I think anytime the phone rings late at night or early in the morning my heart stops because I’m braced for tragedy.

  • @Vinnie: I would probably say I’m more 9pm to 8am as the no call zone. I rarely call people in the morning unless I am positive they are awake, and I never call people after 9 since that was the rule at my house when I was growing up.

    I do have to confess that with time zone differences, if I don’t remember the differences correctly, I have accidentally violated my own rules.

    Bad Adam

  • Reko

    And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
    –Genesis 3:9

  • The lord god would not get an answer from me either.

  • Reko

    And Adam said: Thou shalt have no other blogs before me.