Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 232 - "You're still wasting time, yeah, every time..."

My friend and I got into a funny argument the other night. We were discussing a book I recently finished (number 8* for the year - take that, lowered expectations!), "The Time Traveler's Wife," and how I enjoyed the vast majority of the story, but had some major problems with how it ended. I felt like the author could have ended the story in dozens of different ways, given how she set everything up, but she chose one of the least interesting possible choices. After giving my whole lengthy speech, my friend turned to me and said:

"So, if I asked you whether you liked it or not, what would you say?"
"Well, I liked it up until the end..."
"You have to give me one or the other, did you like it, or did you not like it?"
"I...don't think I can answer that question."

Then the whole conversation broke down to my friend arguing that I have issues with offering up more of a (or a different) response to questions proposed to me than is asked for (something he claims is a pattern he sees regularly, but couldn't offer up other evidence of...hmm), and my response was that his question was purely hypothetical, and in 99% of the conversations people have about any sort of review of something, they want more than a simple "yes" or a "no." I said to him:

"I would be doing you a disservice by answering with a blanket 'yes I liked it,' or a 'no I didn't' because the answer isn't that black and white for me..."
"Ah, but you're assuming I want something more than that from you."
"Why wouldn't you? Who wouldn't want a fully fleshed out review over a boring nod of my head? If I asked you how you enjoyed a movie, like say, Tropic Thunder, and you just said "I liked it," I'm going to follow it up because I'm curious to know your specific thoughts."
"Well not everyone's like you."
"Well, then how about this? My answer is: I don't feel comfortable answering that question."
"That's entirely your right."
"But then nothing gets said at all!"
"Then so be it..."

At this point, everything broke down, and I vowed from then on to only asking him yes or no questions, which my friend quickly responded would only further his point. He reminded me that in order to frustrate him, I'd actually have to only ask open-ended questions to actually frustrate him, relative to our conversation. To which I told him I hated him. Which is pretty much how I end any argument I don't win. Or that ends in a tie. Yes, I believe we tied that one.


Yeah, but I'd still rather be playing: As Ratchet on a Quest For Booty!

*The List So Far:
-I Am Legend
-The God Delusion
-The Geography of Bliss
-Things I've Learned From Women Who've Dumped Me
-The Funniest One In The Room
-When You Are Engulfed In Flames
-The Time Traveler's Wife

Did I like them all? Why don't you ask me for the full review!


Bodhisattva Harlem Mama said...

i remember that book being great, but I don't even remember how it ended much. let me think...hmmm....yea, maybe it could've had a stronger ending...
sounds like someone just wanted something to fuss about. ask your friend if midol should be a part of his morning routine. or a stool softener.

Liz Remus said...

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my most favorite books! I'd be interested in hearing the other endings you've thought about.

By the way, it's being turned into a movie.