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Sunday, August 03, 2008
"close enough" is actually not close enough
Listening to:Got A Feelin 21 Is Gonna Be A Good Year, The Who
Reading:web essays
Weather:dazzling, 75
A bit of a rant on my mind today. I'm pretty burned out on dealing with various bits of information given to me by people who don't seem to give a shit about accuracy. I'm not a Type A by any means, I like to chillax as much as the next guy, more than many, actually. But when I ask you a question please answer "I don't know" rather than pulling an answer out of your ass and guessing that it might be close enough. Unless I preface my question with "what do you guess might be. . . , " and I virtually never do, please don't just hand me your random and useless guess.

I'm not trying to be a dick, honestly. I'm just trying to determine things that I can then rely upon in order to do my thang. Isn't that what you're doing, too? Then why must I freakin constantly either take time to independently confirm your lame unconsidered answers, or build in time to develop and engage in Plan B after I rely on your bogus bullshit?

Maybe it's cuz I hang around teenagers a lot, and they are still using that primitive brain stem a little too much. But even adults who oughtta know better do it to me and around me. Way too often.

I can see why you might think I'm a rude bitch for correcting you when untruths and inaccuracies fall out of your mouth. You didn't really mean it, it's no big deal, you thought I was really asking something else, bla bla bla. But please consider this: isn't it more rude for me to let you continue to remain oblivious or even affirmatively mistaken? And ruder yet for me to let you keep screwing over all the other people to whom you'll soon babble erroneously? That's like the dude at the lock and dam just pushing the trash on through, down the river to the next lock and dam. Which he does. And I think we pretty much all agree that's a shitty approach. The Dalai Lama suggests that dispelling misunderstandings as soon as reasonably possible is a mindful approach that can reduce unnecessary suffering. Don't you agree?

So when I ask you "what's the address?" please don't start your answer with "it's the green house with the . . ." or "my car will be in the driveway" or "just follow x road past the fill-in-the-blank-mart" or "do you know where the . . ." Please. Your answer should probably begin with a number and end with a street name. Why is that so difficult for you? Is the word "address" somehow ambiguous?

Perhaps you don't know the address. No problem, please answer "I don't know." This may initially appear to be a useless answer, but no, it is actually a great answer, especially it you follow it up with "hang on, I'll find out for you." That would totally rock, provided you actually do find out from a credible source, or at least you reasonably endeavor to but report your failure back to me. I'm good with that, unless of course you actually have a duty to know and tell me the address, in which case you suck. But you still suck way less than the joker who pulled a bogus or side-skirted answer out of his ass for me.

Perhaps if you broadened your definition of lying to include stating the unconfirmed. If you can lie by omission (and you accept that, right?) then why can't you lie by lazy discourse? And you're no liar, right? Right. So let's just all agree not to keep sending schmutz around the universe. Clean it up when you see/hear it. You can be nice in how you do it, you can deliver correction with kindness and compassion. It might take a little extra intellectual energy, but you've got some to spare, right?

Correct me and I'll thank ya for it. Promise.

permalink posted by cat 6:47 PM

read 3 comments

You go girl!
I have a friend who has been doing this to me for years. We talk pretty frequently, so I get pretty irritated about it. I've asked him several times, in as nice a way possible, to just answer the question -- I remember the first time I noticed it happening, it was with directions. He said, "When you get to the pond you know you've gone too far." WHAT? I don't want to know when I've gone to far, I want to know where it IS. When I ask him a question that would require either a yes or no answer, I get, "No. Yeah, I ..." to which I respond, "Did you mean 'yes' or 'no?'" to which he responds, "Yeah..." to which I respond, "Could you please just answer the question...?"
Anyway, it continues to irritate me. Now, after years of employing a combination of tolerance and protest against this mode of communication, I find myself doing it to other people. (I find it gives me a few extra seconds of attention that I wouldn't otherwise have, maybe.) What annoyed me to no end has now rubbed off on me. That's what happens. It's tragic.
No, read me, don't let those zombies get a bite out of you, too! Dangit, another gone to the dark side.
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"close enough" is actually not close enough