Aug 28 2011

Trivial Pursuit

Published by at 11:15 am under Just another day in Paradise

Some people can draw. Others can sing. And then there’re those others that can come up with questions even in the most hopeless, obvious and non-requiring-questions situations. Those people will never be left without a job.

Last week, Theo, Georgia and I left Corfu, where we had spent a few days, to come down to Athens. On the bus for three hours at the time, and with six more hours to go, my aunt called to check up on me. “How is everything, have you left Corfu”? “Yes, we are on our way down, we have six hours left, so I should be in Athens around 11pm”. “That’s good, so we’ll talk tomorrow, after you’ve settled in the flat and everything”. I promised her I’d call to check in the next day and hung up.

A couple of hours later, she called again. I immediately got worried and answered in a panic. “Hey, what’s up”? “Are you in Athens yet”? I looked at Theo sitting next to me, in wonder. “No. We’re on the bus. We still have five hours until Athens”. ‘That long still, eh? It’s an awfully long bus journey, isn’t it”? I agreed, and tried to finish it there. “Are you seeing nice things at least”? I was lost as to what she meant. “Where? We’re on a bus”… She laughed. “Yeah, I  know, I mean the view from the window. Is it nice? You’re driving past some interesting places”? I hesitated. “I guess”… “Ah, that’s nice. And are you listening to your music”? “I was, yes”. “Ah, good, good. Did Theo and Georgia have a good time in Corfu”? I assured her they had a fantastic time. “And what’s the plan for the rest of August”? “I don’t know, it looks like I might be on the phone to you”… She forced a laugh. “Ok, I see. I’ll leave you to it then. Have a safe journey back, talk to you tomorrow”.

Half an hour later, Georgia’s phone rung and she chatted to someone for a while. When she hung up, I asked her who that had been and she told me it’d been our aunt, trying her luck with her this time. “She said that you were cold and were giving her zero information, so she had to call me”. “Why? What more did she want to know?”, I asked, not seeing what more I could have revealed to her. “She asked whether any of us is getting carsick, whether we have eaten enough, she asked if we have a bottle of water and enough money, how the weather is up north and whether we got to swim enough, if the people around us on the bus are nice and if we had any problems with–“… I had to interrupt her there. “Oh my God! I didn’t know that this many questions existed”! Georgia nodded, seeing the problem. “Well they do. And we better start coming up with answers or stop answering the phone”.

We were all sitting around the dinner table with some friends the other night, when one of them asked: “Who is Lisa now with”? Georgia and I looked at each other, confirming that we both had no idea. “She must be with someone…”, our friend insisted. “Who knows, I have no idea”, I said, thinking I could stop a conversation with no future. “Isn’t she bored on her own? When you’re alone, it’s no fun”. Georgia nodded politely, confirming that being alone was no fun. “Maybe she has someone that she doesn’t want us to know about. Do you think he’s ugly or something? Or maybe he’s too rich and she doesn’t want us to make fun of her? You think that might be it”? I put my fork down and looked at her intensely. “I really don’t know”. She shook her head, entirely convinced. “In the old days we were after rich boyfriends, now we hide them”… Georgia looked at me, in despair. I urged her to just nod and not go against people like that, or they might turn dangerous.

Yesterday Theo asked me and Georgia what we call a “toothpick” in Greek. “Οδοντογλυφίδα”, I answered, and thought we had pretty much settled it. “Why?”, he asked. I gave myself a few seconds to mourn that nothing in this life can be easy, and gave Georgia the signal to take it from there. “The first part of the word means “tooth”. The second “clean”, “pick”. So really, it’s exactly the same as in English”. Very proud of her explanation, Georgia went back to texting a friend of hers. “Why is it not called “δοντιξύλο”? I looked at my boyfriend, wondering where it had all gone wrong. Georgia tried to help him out. “What do you mean, Theo”? “Well, it’s a piece of wood, for the teeth. Shouldn’t it be called that”? Losing my patience, I abruptly answered him, “yes, but it’s not. Just deal with it”. Georgia gave me the signal to calm down and took it upon her to solve this problem. “In English as well, it’s not toothwood, is it? People have found something more specific to describe this tool, so we should just accept it, right?”, she asked, and looked at me, very pleased with the way she had handled it. “Yes, but why? Don’t you ever question these things?”, Theo insisted. Georgia looked at me, desperate, and whispered. “I think I’m gonna go now”…

This reminded me of a time I had gone down to the centre of Athens and my grandma called to chat. “Where are you”? “Didn’t I tell you I’d be in the centre, ’cause I needed a couple of books and CDs”? “Yes, I know you’re in the centre, I’m asking where exactly you are”. I looked around me to give her a specific location. “I’m reaching Monastiraki. Why? Where are you?”, I asked, thinking she was maybe trying to find me. “I’m at home”. “Ah. So why do you need to know exactly where I am, then”? “Just to know”. I accepted it and tried to hang up the phone. “Where are you going to get your books from”? “I got them already. From Ianos”. “Why didn’t you get them from Eleutheroudakis”? “Because they didn’t have them there, grandma”. “Did you have anything to eat”? “Yeah, I had a cheese pie”. “Why didn’t you have a souvlaki”? I looked at my phone, in wonder. Was this a prank phone call? Had my grandma gotten this extra bored that she resorted to pranks? “I have to go now, grandma”, I said and hung up while she was still asking me why it was that I had to go.

For people out there that are in the board game industry and are looking for new ideas, here it is: A game where you are given a situation that is pretty much final, with nothing left to debate or discuss and you have to come up with questions to ask. The player that manages to produce the most questions, even if loosely connected to the situation, in less time, is the winner.

The work opportunities, if you possess this talent, are also numerous. You can become a quiz or survey writer. You can become a journalist or a reporter. You can start your own gossip column, or write a conspiracy theory book and question everything we’ve been told about the world so far. You can be a psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist and ask away, without giving any answers yourself. Hold your glasses close to your mouth and ask: “Why do you think you had a cheese pie and not a souvlaki?”, or “why do you think your friends feel they need to hide their rich boyfriends from you”? If the patient gets frustrated with the amount of pointless and annoying questions you re posing, then there is the ultimate question to ask, that will once again give you the upper hand: “And why do you think you loathe questions so much? Why do you feel like you are constantly being attacked? Why do you see everyone as an enemy? There a lot of things to be discussed on this matter, but we’ll leave them for later sessions”. And just like that, you have your day’s earnings, and your patient is crazier than ever before, so you’ve ensured at least 40 more sessions to come. There’s no way you can lose.

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Trivial Pursuit”

  1. Shawnon 30 Aug 2011 at 2:19 pm

    You pretty much said what i could not effectively communicate.

  2. Georgiaon 06 Sep 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Only one more question… Why?

  3. Angeliki Coconion 09 Sep 2011 at 9:14 am

    Because the kids need new shoes….

  4. Gabion 16 Sep 2011 at 12:14 pm

    U crack me up…really…you make me laugh like a crazy person…I wonder why this is? Why are you funny? Do you think it’s because of your childhood?

  5. Angeliki Coconion 16 Sep 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve told you, my mum smoked when she was pregnant…

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