Why people so fas’? Mind yuh business!

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Chickety chickety check this out. You’re walking down the road, and ‘bounce up’ Stacy from secondary school days. You say, “Aye gyul, how yuh goin’?” She says, “I good. Where yuh working? Yuh marrid?”

When this happens, it doh fret yuh? It frets me.

Invisible ‘screw pan’ firmly in place, several responses rush through my mind – “Dais none of yuh business!” “Why you so fas’ dread?” Dat helping you buy bread?”

I mean, how does this information help the macocious person who thinks it’s okay to instantly bombard me with these questions?

When people ask you these questions, do they interrogate you because they are genuinely interested in your welfare? Is it because you’ve been on their mind all of this time? Did their mommy ask them to conduct a survey? Really. Why dey so fas’?

A real conversationalist knows how to ‘pick your mouth’, without you realising it.

Human nature is, by nature, curious. However, I find this type of curiosity to be highly obnoxious, and entirely irritating (as you may have realised by now). Oh, and it’s tacky. A real conversationalist knows how to ‘pick your mouth’, without you realising it.

I don’t ask people their business, even if I haven’t seen them in a long time. Once everything seems nice like spice in their world, I’m very satisfied with exchanging superficial pleasantries and moving on. It’s not that I don’t care, or that I’m antisocial (okay, sometimes I am), but if we’re just acquaintances, and I’ve survived without knowing what they’ve been doing for the past 15 years, how is it relevant? Even if it’s a friend, I’d make a general enquiry as to whether all is well, and wait for them to volunteer information. (Obviously, I don’t make a good maco.)

Maybe, if we ended up having a nice, long chat, the conversation may naturally run that course. Allow me to repeat the n word…naturally.

Asking mere acquaintances personal questions seems inappropriate. It’s meant to satisfy only the other person’s need for information, and, often, does not represent sincere concern. I’m willing to give fas’ people the benefit of the doubt, though.

Maybe, all they know is ‘small talk’.

Maybe, they do this because they’re poor conversationalists. Maybe, all they know is ‘small talk’. Maybe, they’re socially awkward, and rely on questions they remember seeing their favourite sitcom character ask.

Still, it’s not the questioning that bothers me so much you know. It’s the immediacy of the line of questioning. I mean…the first thing you ask me is what I’m doing with my life? You eh even ask me a generic “how yuh going” question? You eh even apply some verbal foreplay?

Curiosity is great. Pure macociousness? Not so much.

Knowing information about each other connects us to each other, and helps us to discover commonalities that bond us, and differences that intrigue us, but it’s only meaningful when we’re truly connected to each other.

You eh even apply some verbal foreplay?

I once met an old university peer, as a co-worker and I were leaving the office to walk into downtown Port of Spain to get lunch. She looked my suit and flip flops up and down (allyuh know walking in high heels in the midday hot sun is torture), and asked me if I was working at “insert one of the companies that was housed in the building”. I answered yes, even though that was incorrect.

She then asked what I’d been up to. I didn’t tell her that I had a good job, and had recently returned from England, with a master’s degree with distinction, and a complexion that had moved from caramel brown to mellow yellow (fas’ people tend to miss the little things).

My co-worker asked why I hadn’t told her all that I’d achieved. You know what my response was. It was none of her business.

I knew that she had asked me, because she had always fancied herself the cream of the crop in our set. So, she was assessing me to see how I lined up in comparison to her.

That’s another reason some people try to mind yuh business. They are constantly comparing themselves to others.

So, how do you deal with this type of situation? It would be hypocritical of me to tell you what to do the next time someone turns a random meeting into a one-sided interrogation – reason being that I’ve failed to implement any of the reactions that I’ve imagined myself giving.

What do I do? Every plan to be sassy, and tell them that it’s none of their damn business, is pushed to the back of my brain. I answer them, curtly, but sweetly, and still provide a smidgen of information. Good graces I rebuke you! And is years now I want to give someone a smart-aleck response eh.

When people accost us like this, we often walk away thinking, “Oh gosh. He/she fas’ eh”. We might tell a friend afterwards, or, for those who have the time, or are equally macocious, we engage in tit for tat, and pepper dey tail with questions. But at the moment of interrogation, we’re really thinking, “What do I really want to tell this person right now?”

If being interrogated bothers you, surely we can find a way to address it, right? So, now that I’ve gotten the irritation out of my system, and you’ve stayed with me to this point, I’d like to return the favour. Tell me. How do you handle these situations, and if you had the gall, what would you tell them?

 

Image credit:  rakuten.co.jp

Karel Mc Intosh

Karel Mc Intosh is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Outlish Magazine. She's also the Lead Communications Trainer at Livewired Group, where she conducts workshops in business writing, social media, and other communications areas. A real online junkie, when she isn't surfing the Internet, she's thinking about surfing the Internet. Find out more about her here or tweet her @outlishmagazine.

14 Comments

  1. Verliz

    March 26, 2012 at 9:26 am

    When it comes to small talk and ‘making conversation’, I’m pretty much like you. I’m content to mind my own business. People often rinse out meh ears with dey bizness, but is not because ah arkse dem. The most twilight-zone-ish experience, though, was in Denmark. The Danes live for small talk, and this often includes where one works, how much one earns, where one lives, one’s rent, the price of one’s computer, and whether one’s pregnancy was planned, or not.

    About the pregnancy thing, I found it weird that folks would see me with this huge belly/adorable little infant and ask me, “Er du GLAD for?” (Literal translation: Are you happy for him/it?).. Of COURSE I’m happy for my kid..wtf kinda weird-ass question is that?!?!? But years later, I realised that’s their indirect way of asking, “Did you plan it, or did the condom burst?)

    • Karel Mc Intosh

      Karel Mc Intosh

      March 26, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Bwahahahahaha. Wow. That’s a whole other level right there. But I guess once you realise that’s their culture, you know how to deal with it.

  2. msgray

    March 26, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Look your sister here! My mother taught me, nuttin good doh come from knowing people business, so is best to just mind your own. Which is hilarious because a typical conversation between me and my mother upon relating a story of who I saw today, usually goes something like this:

    Me: Mummy, guess who I bounce up in the airport?
    Mummy: who?
    Me: So and so
    Mummy: Oh ho? How she going? I remember she was such a sweet little girl! Where she living?
    Me: Here, I guess
    Mummy: You didn’t ask
    Me: No
    Mummy: Steups, I forget who I talking to
    Me: Um hello! Who raised me? Right then, that is all!

    And now I live in Europe and I’m not doing to well. Like Verliz, I find the Europeans DAMN FAS!! But I am trying to remember this is how these people communicate; this is their culture. But I really want to be like: “Why yuh so damn fas??!! None of your blasted business!” In my head I imagine saying it in english and laughing at the shocked look I imagine would be on their faces. Sadly, like you, I usually give some under zealous version of the truth. ONE DAY though! I will reach my limit. If not only in my head…lol

  3. Marsha S. Haneiph

    March 26, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Great stuff, Karel. I skipped a reunion when the former classmate who called to sell me the ticket was so catty on the phone. It wasn’t that she was being fass, but was trying to cut style on me. Seriously? Why would I go there for an evening of bitterness and dotish questions?

  4. Reuben Briggs

    March 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    nice one Karel! but if ya think Trini people fas oh gosh gal ya shud have to deal wid Canadians.

  5. Brendon O'Brien

    Brendon O'Brien

    March 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I just wanna know if those shirts selling for real, and where I could get one…lol

    • Karel Mc Intosh

      Karel Mc Intosh

      March 27, 2012 at 12:27 am

      Lol. A Japanese site selling them. Yuh willing to make that order? Lol.

    • RenD

      March 28, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Lmao!!!!

  6. Shelley Janelle

    March 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I tell them the truth!! Or I say that not your business!! They all have the same questions any ways lol!

  7. RenD

    March 28, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I concur with Karen; however, I don’t necessarily think people are poor conversationalists when asking direct questions, which make them appear as macosious. I mean, if the time doesn’t lend itself to an organic conversation, for example, with the run in with her ex classmate. It would be apparent that she would ask work and educational related questions because after all, you and her met in school (education, career, and work). As for personal questions from the get go, “Yuh married?”, that would just be weird at the initial start of such convo.

    I rather someone ask me a direct question than beat around the bush, that IRKS the shit out of me. It’s up to me to answer them, truthfully or not, or altogether don’t answer the question…different strokes for different folks.

  8. Karel Mc Intosh

    Karel Mc Intosh

    April 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Ren…I still think that if we weren’t really friends and the first thing you ask me is where I’m working…then yuh fas’. Lol. What I really just don’t like is the immediate interrogation. Ask me how I’m going, what I doing in this area, then ask a question. You’d be surprised how some people do it to you one time. In some instances, esp for those who mentioned it being a cultural issue in some spaces, it may really be a matter of the culture; in some instances it’s pure macociouesness. So Ren, whey yuh workin. Lol. I kid.

  9. Kwame

    April 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Oh shit. I feel I fas yes.

    But seriously. Sometimes I don’t ask, and people feel the need to tell me all their business. That’s the other side of this whole thing. I real doh want to hear your business.

    • Karel Mc Intosh

      Karel Mc Intosh

      April 9, 2012 at 12:04 am

      Yeah Kwame. Dais another thing. In my mind, it’s like yo I need to get to the bank before it closes. It’s not that I don’t care, in a bad way, I just don’t care in a good way. Lol.

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