People who know me know that I don’t enjoy being asked inane questions, and I recently blogged about the inane question phenomenon here. So imagine my delight when I saw the Daily Prompt for today was “What question do you hate to be asked?” Well, since you asked and its December, I’ll tell you.
Are you ready for Christmas? is a standard greeting that replaces the more generic How are you? during December, for obvious reasons. How many times have you been asked this question this holiday season? 80? 800? Does it annoy you as much as it annoys me?
Why does it annoy me so? Well, let me answer a question with a question: do people ever ask this question of anyone other than acquaintances or complete strangers? I don’t think so. I’m quite certain I have never been asked if I’m “ready for Christmas” by anyone I actually know. Why? Because it’s one of those pointless small talk questions people say in order to be polite and pretend they’re interested in other people they know nothing about.
I remember my mom’s friends and acquaintances asking me this when I was a little kid. I never got it. I still don’t get it. Who cares? Miss Marple, my mom’s acquaintance whom five-year-old me has just met in the produce aisle at the grocery store, doesn’t have any stake in my Christmas “readiness.” Neither does the cashier at the grocery store ringing up adult Jenny, unless the store is out of something I need, a query which has already been covered with the more relevant Did you find everything you needed today?
What does it mean to be “ready for Christmas,” anyway? Does it mean that you’ve bought all the presents you’re giving? Hung up all your decorations? Baked all your cookies/pies/breads? Purchased all the ingredients for Christmas dinner? Completed cooking Christmas dinner? Stocked up on alcohol so you and your family members can tolerate spending time together? Lost 10 pounds so maybe this year your mother won’t be so eager to email you post-holiday dieting tips? Resigned yourself to the fact that Aunt Irma is never going to stop asking when you’ll have kids and that she’ll always find you lacking, no matter if you win a Nobel Peace Prize or find a cure for cancer?
Seriously, is it even possible to be “ready” for Christmas? And does a stranger actually care whether you are “ready” for it or not? I don’t care whether you’re “ready,” so please stop asking me if I am “ready.”
What if Christmas is a terrible time of year for you, for whatever reason? Pretty fucking presumptuous of a question if you ask me.
I’m going to start telling people I’m Jewish when they ask me this question.