Friday, 6 December 2013


We all know that toddlers and preschoolers are phenomenally infamous for repeatedly asking one of the world's biggest little questions: why? This short yet highly loaded question represents an inevitable stage of development that will initially intrigue then perplex adults to the end of their patience, when an equally short and highly loaded response suddenly becomes the ubiquitous answer: "Just because, that's why!"

Grown-ups also ask infuriating questions, although they are usually a bit more detailed than why?. There are also rhetorical questions, but they are generally quite recognisable and only require an acknowledgement of their cleverness in place of an actual answer. However, there are some big questions that start with a small word and truly befuddle me.

  • Why do people expect you to comment on their new haircut/shoes/outfit - to the point where they are incensed if you don't 'notice'?
  • Why are the noisiest people the first to tell others to be quiet?
  • Why do people who constantly talk to themselves expect that I'll be listening attentively and hear what they think is a hilarious comment hidden somewhere in the middle of their stream of consciousness?
  • Why do chuggers, who can see that I'm obviously listening to music in an attempt to block out street sounds, try and talk to me anyway?
  • Why do people call all bus drivers "Driver?" Surely they don't all share the same name?
  • Why is one of the first questions people ask when they hear a baby has been given a non-English name, "what does it mean?" Do they ask people who named their kids George, Jane or Mary "what does it mean?"
  • Why don't people who sign up for #nzsecretsanta (a Twitter-based project) tweet? I mean, I'm a pretty good online detective, but I'd appreciate more than a one word reply to someone tweeted on 25 November to go on.
  • Why do wannabe exercisers (usually women walking in pairs or small groups) insist on pumping their arms side to side as they waddle along the waterfront, holding water bottles and with their jerseys tied around their waist? Who are they trying to convince?
  • Why do couples walking hand in hand insist on stretching out the entire width of the footpath to do so?
  • Why do people think it is a good idea to stand at the top of an escalator platform and look around when the people still coming up the escalator behind them have nowhere else to go?
  • Why is it acceptable for people to talk constantly, either to themselves or others, but not ok to sing, hum or dance by yourself?
  • Why do people push the cross button at traffic lights several times in a row (instead of just once) or insist on stepping past you to push the button several times for themselves, even though it makes absolutely no difference to the light's phasing after the first push?
What other questions have I missed?

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