When I was in university, people I didn’t see very regularly would always, upon running into me for the first time in a while, ask me what I was going to do when I graduated. I know people were just being friendly and trying to demonstrate an interest in my life, but I hated being asked that question. I was never sure how to respond, since everyone assumed I was going to be an English teacher, which was not my plan (and students all over Ontario breathed a sign of relief) and besides all that, I didn’t really have a plan, which seemed sort of embarrassing to admit. I mean, I was fine with getting an English degree and figuring out the rest later, but I didn’t think other people would be because, really, who gets an English degree? English teachers, that’s who.
Now that I’m older, the question I hate most is the one that wants to know what’s new and exciting in my life. Again, I recognize that people are just showing an interest in my life, for which I am genuinely appreciative. However, as with the other question, I’m never sure how to answer. Mike and I have been married for almost six years now, and I am fairly certain that the expectation is that I will answer that question with some exciting baby-related news or, failing that, some other exciting piece of information that one would have if they lived a life more dynamic than mine. Things have been pretty much the same for the last year and a bit (for which I am grateful, on account of change gives me hives) and I’m left at the end of that question wondering whether I should just say nothing’s new or whether I should bore the asker with some of the mundane details of my life. I usually end up going for the latter and then feeling like an idiot later because, really, nobody cares about our dog as much as I do.
Yesterday, Mike called his sister and ended up chatting with our niece for a few minutes. She’s two-and-a-half, cute as a button, and loves to talk, although neither of us really has much of an idea of what she’s saying most of the time. Mike asked her what she had done yesterday, a question to which she proudly responded with the news that she had been to the zoo. Which apparently wasn’t true – she had actually spent the day at her babysitter’s house.
Sometimes I think toddlers have way more going for them in the smarts department than we do. Someone had asked her what she had done, she didn’t really have anything to report, so she made something up. I am considering adopting this strategy for when I run into people I haven’t seen in a while. Next time you ask me what’s new and exciting, be prepared to hear about my trip into outer space.