I’m not sure at what point along the way I developed a disdain for answering questions about my future. Maybe it started with, “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” or “What college do you most want to go to?” and on to “What are you majoring in?” followed by “What do you want to do with that?” Holy shit, people, back the eff off already, okay? This has led me to develop an attitude that doesn’t even want to discuss my present situation with elders, mostly because as much as I didn’t have good answers back then, I still don’t. Some of the questions older people ask are obviously nosy and invasive, but others are just for the sake of small talk or your relative is genuinely curious. Either way, I don’t want to address any of them.
“Do you like your job?”
Unless I’m sharing fascinating stories void of any sarcasm about what I deal with on a daily basis, just assume I don’t like my job. I’m sure some people love to talk about what they do, but those people are either a) trying to show off, b) lying to you, c) lying to themselves, or d) lucky bastards who I don’t want to hear talk about their job 96 percent of the time. You know what the holidays are for? NOT WORKING. So why on Earth would I want to break down a day in my work life for you while I have a turkey leg in one hand that I’m washing down with a glass of wine in the other?
Old Person: “What have you been up to?”
Me: “Nothing much.”
Old Person: “Well, what have you been doing?”
Had the first answer I provided been sufficient, I would be totally fine with this question since conversation is apparently a must. However, unless you want me to respond with, “Well, I force myself out of bed five mornings a week to go to a job that pays a laughable wage and leaves me unfulfilled, I leave said job eight hours later, and then I head home to debate between the horrid gym or my booze cabinet for the next 45 minutes, knowing full well how the latter will make me feel in the morning. I make a line of poor choices until the weekend gets here, when I can make some more poor choices with the couple of friends available to hang out, if I’m lucky. I also spend an inordinate amount of time in bed, catching up on the sleep I didn’t get the previous five days. Rinse. Repeat.” (PGP in a paragraph, am I right?) I think it’s best you just be sufficed with my “nothing much.”
“Are you seeing anyone?”
I usually pride myself on being someone who can mostly always “even,” but with this question, I just CAN’T…at least not without banging my head against the wall. Do I have pictures on social media with someone who seems to be a romantic interest? Did I bring someone with me to a family gathering? Have I even so much as mentioned anyone’s name, and if so, did this lead you to believe I may be hooking up with a particular person and it’s just not serious enough to bring him home yet? No, hell no, and even if I was, it’s still not appropriate to ask. People love talking about the person they’re seeing. If we want you to know, we’ll tell you. If not, it’ll be so obvious that there won’t be a need to ask. Therefore, this question, in any form, is wholly unnecessary.
“So when are you going to pop a couple kids out?”
If a married couple is in a place where the typical married couple considers having children, then I can understand a simple, “So, are you two thinking about kids?” However, don’t inquire further after he or she provides a likely short answer. If you ask this to someone who isn’t married, that’s just the stupidest thing ever, so expect an equally stupid answer. My favorite response, personally, is “not unless its name is Jesus and mine is Mary.” People never quite know how to process that, but at least it makes them go away.
Asking the exact same questions you did the last time you saw me.
When I was in college, there was a handful of townsfolk who would ask me, “So, when do you graduate?” every single time I saw them. It was all I could do to not say, “In the same amount of time as the last time I told you, minus the amount of days since I told you that.” Basically, if I’ve had a major life change that warrants re-answering those same questions, I would have disclosed it back at, “What have you been up to?”
My mom has said I’ve given her a complex about talking to people my age because she doesn’t know what to ask, considering my sentiments on questions such as these. Maybe I’m just easily annoyed. I don’t really even have suggestions for questions older people could ask to incite intriguing conversation at the holiday dinner table–I just know these aren’t it..