The art of the obvious question

I've never understood the obvious question--when someone asks a question whose answer is right in front of their face. More than that, obvious questions drive me crazy! I guess my problem is that when I talk to someone I want to relate an experience, learn something new, or build relationship. I don't ask pointless questions just for the sake of making conversation.

Boy, have I come to the wrong place.

"You are there?" asked Johannes one day as I sat in the schoolroom. "There" is "dey," and I understood that, but what I didn't understand was what he could possibly be getting at with this question, so I doubted my comprehension and looked to the girls for help. "Yes," I finally said uncertainly after he clarified with an exaggerated "*th*ere." Johannes laughed at what he thought was my not understanding his pronunciation.

"You are doing this?" one of the translators poked his head out the door with that question as I hung laundry in the backyard. (AH! Unassigned deixis on a blatantly obvious and unnecessary question. Could you hit any more of my pet peeves in one short utterance?) Positively bewildered by the intention of this utterance, I stammered out a yes which seemed to satisfy him and he walked away.

Apparently I've got a lot to learn about the art of making conversation.


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