We as humans tend to ask useless questions. Probably the most common one is “How are you?”
The recipient’s knee-jerk response is usually a generic “I’m fine.” This answer might or might not be followed with the same question asked back, and we repeat a circle of lies. Sometimes the conversation is left at that, which is fine, but if two friends are meeting, they might delve into the muck underlying the answer to get to the juicier bits. (Yes, this was my lunch yesterday with a friend I hadn’t seen in 6 months. Had a great time catching up!)
Some questions are asked with true intent, but are equally useless in getting a response. The one which I especially abhor (yes, abhor) is “What do you want… (for your birthday/Christmas, to eat, to go/do, etc)?”
My answer to that question is a resounding blinking cursor. I don’t care what is being asked, but those words in any way, shape, or form are asked of me, my little brain wipes clean. As a whistle.
I can tell you what I don’t want. I don’t want anything slimy on my pizza. I don’t want jelly beans or anything gummy. I don’t want to watch reality as entertainment (if you tell me I would love a certain movie or book, I probably won’t). I don’t want to be in a large crowd of people I don’t know.
As a result, I typically don’t answer the want question with anything serious which frustrates my family to no end. My typical answer for what kind of gift to get me includes a winning lottery ticket and a best-selling novel (mine). Two years ago, that was my answer and mi espouso presented me with a scratch-off worth $2 and The Fault in Our Stars. Yes, it was a winning lotto ticket, and yes, it was a best-selling novel (not mine). He’s so funny and thoughtful.
I made him return the book (because a book/movie about two cancer patients is too close to reality for me) and use that money to win a bigger lottery prize. (He didn’t win.)
I have found a better question to ask: What do you need?
It’s easier to consider what is needed than what is wanted. Maybe I am simply a here-&-now type person, but a need is something I can identify. Something that is tangible in my little mind that is easy to verbalize: I need an umbrella today (too bad it’s sitting in the car, prepared to do its job when I need it to get to the car), I need to finish Daemon book 3 and Spiritual Gifts book 2 (yes, they are in to works; no, I don’t have a publish date yet), and I need new socks.
What a person wants, while it may be tangible like wanting red boots (ooh, maybe I need), tends to be more of a pipe dream. Mostly, I think “wants” equate to esoteric or unrealistic dreams. I want a small house, on a beach or in the mountains, with a housekeeper/cook and no bills or maintenance. I want huge royalty checks. I want everyone who has ever read my books, to write a review or share their thoughts with me.
Like I said, unrealistic.