Questions You Know the Answer To
"When does the new Lost season start?"
"February, I think."
"Really? I thought it started in September."
"I'm pretty sure it's February."
"I'm pretty sure it's not."
Well, if you already knew the answer, why did you ask?
I remember Johnny asking my dad a lawyerly line of questions when he was younger.
"Grandad, do you like Shrek?"
"Do you really like Shrek?"
"Yes, I really like it."
"Do you love Shrek?"
"Granddad, have you ever seen Shrek?"
"Well, not exactly."
He was just trying to be polite. You don't want to tell a kid you didn't see the movie that they think is the most hilarious ever made.
J.J. loves asking questions that he knows the answer to. The other day, for intance, he asked me if I have a head.
"Yes," I said.
He smiled big, as if to say, "I knew it."
In church, his baby cousin came in with her parents and sat in our pew.
"Is that Francie?" he asked.
"How did she get here?"
"She, um, rode her bike," I said.
"No she didn't!" he said. "How did she get here?"
"She came with her parents."
He smiled. He knew it!
Whenever a girly toy is advertised on T.V., he says, "Mommy, do you want that?"
"Yes," I say. "I'm going to ask for Bratz pet shop for my birthday."
He nods satisfactorily. He knew it.
Tinkerbell Castle Dollhouse? It's on my Christmas list.
Barbie Blooming Thumbelina? I'm saving up my allowance.
Sometimes I think he takes me for a very tall girl who happens to be the boss of him. I don't have the heart to tell him my Barbie days ended in third grade. Maybe second. It was whenever my friends and I discovered Star Search. The T.V. talent reenactments took all our time. And then one of us always got stuck playing Ed McMahon. Not exactly the role of a lifetime for a third grade girl.
I remember Johnny and Richie asking questions like J.J.'s. It's a kid's way of striking up a conversation.
"Did I have a birthday party today?"
"Yes, and it was fun!"
"Were my friends there?"
"They sure were."
"Did we have a treasure hunt?"
"Yes! And you found the treasure."
I guess grownups do this, too.
When you ask, How are you doing? You know the answer is "pretty good" or, if things aren't going well, "all right."
Unless you ask a good friend. Good friends are never doing "pretty well" or "all right." They're getting laid off. They're going through a divorse. Their baby is biting other babies. Or...they just fell in love! They got their dream job! Their baby is a dream baby! Nothing is so-so among friends.
J.J.'s favorite questions are either/or. "Which do you like better? Salad or ice cream? Potatos or candy? Chicken or chocolate milk? Going night-night or being a pirate?" The questions seem obvious to him...but I think my answers would surprise him, unless he knew that I was an actual adult and not just a girl who looks very old.