Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Young and Old

From time to time I am reminded that people don't take you as they find you, accept you at face value, assume the best of you etc.

For instance, 'Would you like a cup of coffee?' Simple question and all but the most indecisive, only those completely unaware of their own personal current hierarchy of needs, will fail to answer yes or no to this one. You reckon?

I probably offer more teas and coffees to people than most other folk in Nailsea. Just a guess but if you want to rise to the challenge please do so.

I do get quite a lot of straight answers but also very many responses of, 'Are you having one?'

Why do we have this desire to put people to no trouble when trouble has been clearly offered? If it was going to be a hardship to offer you a coffee I would have said so, although the only circumstances in which I can imagine this would be a lack of time, ingredients or recipe.

By and large it is older people than me who give the 'It depends' response. Younger people give a straight answer.

'Would you like to stay for supper?'
'Is that OK?'
'Of course it's OK; I wouldn't have invited you if it wasn't OK.'

Now occasionally young people respond politely and hesitantly to this invitation but, and here is a response no older person would ever give, sometimes they say, 'What are we having?' Are they wondering if there may be a better meal elsewhere possibly?

I have a new regular guest who, on being offered a cold or hot drink said 'Both.' Guess the age. Insiders can't play.


Ray Barnes said...

It's called hedging your bets Steve.
The rationale being, if one is too disgusting, you can ditch it in favour of the other.

Anonymous said...

One of my kids has a very short list of things he will eat. This is a huge frustration to us, but also limiting for him socially.

beckmort said...

I recommend reading "Watching the English" by Kate Fox, to understand the "it depends" responses. It is a symptom of a culture of "negative politeness", where we are keen to avoid intrusion or inconvenience.