Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two Word Answers to Those Pesky Questions

I've discovered some new-to-me ways to deal with questions I don't want to answer. This may or may not be useful information for anyone else, but it works for me.

There are a only few people who know that I am working on a novel. Unfortunately, two of those people are neighbours of mine. One is a very sweet teacher who happened to notice me at a writers' workshop a couple of years ago and asks about my work every time she sees me. The second person is a retired man who only asks me about my progress after he has imbibed fortifying liquids in large quantities. When they ask 'how's it going?" I used to mumble and stumble through an explanation. I've given that up and have decided use - "can't say" or "no comment." I think the no comment thing could add mystery so I'll try that one out.

The other pesky question I encounter with some frequency is "why not?" As in: Why not buy a subscription to this magazine for only $15.95? Why not donate to this charity again? Why not have your carpets cleaned? - We'll give you a discount. I used to reply "no thanks" but they would keep on talking unless I hung up. So, now I take a different approach. When the "why not" question arises, I say, "I'm broke." I'm happy to report that this works quite well. I've even received apologies, though I assume they are only offered by callers who are new at telemarketing. I wonder if it works because it's different, or because hardly anyone wants to use those words. So far, no one has asked me what I mean by broke, but I do have a personal definition.

Broke means that by the end of the month I have spent all the money received in the previous month, and sometimes a bit more. It's not a technically correct definition, but so what.

And speaking of 'so what,' that might be a handy phrase to use when I visit my always grumpy friend this afternoon. He tends to raise minor complaints to major heights. I likely won't do it, but I know I will be tempted.


Anonymous said...

LOL - the "so what" part made me snark. Nosy questions kill me.

Though, my personal favorite in recent months, from my father-in-law, who knew I was writing a book over the summer: "Is your book published yet?" WTF? Uh sure, I had the incredible luck of hitting the right agent at the right time, right out of the box. AND they hit the right publisher the same way. I've received an insane advance, but we just didn't bother to ever mention it. Jeez *rolls eyes*

I've reached the conclusion that most people, as a rule, are either rude or just stupid. And I'm probably giving undue credit by thinking they might be rude.

Of course, one could read this post as rude (or stupid), which puts me in the same place as the rest of them. Damn.

Susan said...

I had just read your blog a day or two before, so when the phone rang Saturday morning just as I was going out the door, I wasn't too worried. I thought it might be my daughter's art teacher (it wasn't) - it turned out to be my friendly neighbourhood political party, looking for a donation.

I decided to use your phrase: "I'm broke". Can you believe it actually didn't work?! "Oh, Mrs. B, please don't think that $200 is the only amount you can give. $100 will do, and with the tax credit, it'll only amount to $25." Yeah, but in the meantime, I'm out a hundred bucks... Which part of "I'm broke", don't you understand?

I gave up on that tactic and resorted to, "I'm just on my way out the door. I have to go." "Oh," says he agreeably, "it'll only take a minute of your time." It had already taken far too many minutes of my time!

"Good-bye," I said politely, and hung up. Those two words worked very well :)

mikemoore1 said...

Holy cow! I just noticed in your profile that you live in the same city as I do. Well, I live in Cambridge, but I go to Kitchener every day.

Small world. Perhaps we'll have to meet some time.

I liked your blog post. I hate when people try to get me to buy something in a pushy manner. It's very annoying.

I also tried to 'follow' your blog, since I just switched from WordPress to Blogger. I guess you have that function disabled.

Thanks again for the read.