Usually when you’re talking to a stranger you’re not allowed to ask them many personal questions.
You can ask a stranger what time it is, you can ask them for directions or how soon the bus is coming. That's about it.
But everything changes when a stranger asks you a question - then you get to ask it back to them. It’s a free pass and I love it. I love when people ask how many siblings I have, because then I get to find out how many siblings they have. I love when strangers ask where I’m going, how I cut my hand, or what I’m ordering at a restaurant. The best thing a stranger can ask me is how much I pay for rent.
But the worst thing is when there’s a reason that stranger is asking you the question, so you can’t ask them back, even though you feel like you should be able to. Like when a nurse asks if the veins in my arm are close to the skin. Suddenly I want to ask her the same thing, so badly. It only seems fair.
Or when my hairstylist asks how long it usually takes for my hair to air dry, I can feel my mouth wanting to say “What about your hair, how long does your hair take to dry?” and I have to bite my tongue to keep my mouth from asking. Biting my tongue reminds me that I never got to ask my dentist how often he flosses.
Bouncers at concerts ask my age, police officers ask where I’m headed, my credit card company asks me my salary, and none of these questions are questions I can ask back. I’ll probably never know what kind of veins my nurse has, where my pharmacist stores her medications, or if my doctor has had any unexpected weight loss recently.
If my landlord is reading this: Ever since you asked if I own an aquarium or a keyboard I have been dying to know if you own either. And if you own a keyboard, how many keys does it have, and do you use headphones with it or not? Also, this weekend I noticed a new closet in the apartment that I have never seen before. It sounds crazy but it's probably some sort of portal or maybe the previous tenants held a seance. Did the previous tenants own an aquarium? Please respond ASAP.
While I wait I'll be watching this.