Choosing Your Words

2011 April 6

What kind of music do you like?

Where did you grow up?

How was your weekend?

There’s a difference between an answer and a response. I confuse them sometimes. People mostly want the shortest satisficing response. The uh huh. Yeah, sure. No, thanks. Of course. They don’t want fulsome. It’s small talk, not a deposition. You don’t need to show your work in a neat little column; there are only points for the correct solution. And the correct solution doesn’t even need to be accurate, it just needs to fit on the line. I pretend that by writing really tiny and straight out to the margins, I’m beating the system, but really, printing YES in big block letters and leaving lots of white space will always be better received.

But  I like long answers. I like when you keep talking and talking and maybe reveal something you didn’t even intend, in what you have done said and what you have failed to do say. I like when you take the question seriously enough to address each of the mini questions embedded inside like those Russian nesting dolls. I don’t even mind if you ask me to repeat, so that you make sure you cover everything. I like when your handwriting gets all scrawly and dark at the bottom of the page. You’re tired, but you need to make this one last point. I will take as much of that as I can get.

Never quite satisficed.

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