Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The zombie virus known as stupid

 Thanks for the love on yesterday's post. I should clear up that I am not working out on account of my horrific body image. I'm working out firstly as a counter-balance to Bipolar Disease; secondly to be in shape for a race in May (and next May) and my eventual return to amateur sport; and thirdly for the fact that pretty much every chronic hereditary disease known to man runs through my family.

Hopefully, my body image gets back to normal pretty soon. But it may not, seeing as I, like Gaston, am "roughly the size of a barge!"

Today, though, I want to talk about stupidity. I know that's crueler than my normal tone, but it's been a bad day. 

 In my evil moments, Michel Gérard is my hero.


You know in class, when the teacher says there are no stupid questions? Lies! All lies! Maybe in that particular environment, it's fine to ask whatever wanders across the slippery swamp you like to think of as your mind. But in real life, please, a moment of reflection. 

Case in point: some time ago, a friend asked me to talk to someone who was interested in coming to to Japan on my programme. I love this programme. I love the opportunity it gave me. I love my dinkville town. So I'm always glad to take the time to help out those who are interested. And I'm generally pretty good about keeping an open mind. But this one person drives me up a wall asking me nonsense - 90% of the time it's irrelevant or out of my realm of expertise. 


"Hey Claire. You're still in Japan? I was wondering what you need to teach English in Dubai?" 

Errrrr??? Wait, is Dubai in Japan? Is Japan a colony of Dubai? Do I spend my vacations in Dubai? Did I almost go to Dubai to teach English?

Maybe the reason your teacher tells you there are no stupid questions is because they've never gotten one. Probably because I get their share. 


Ever have a conversation with someone who just could not understand what you were talking about? I'm not talking rocket science. I'm not  even talking specialist vocab. I mean, I don't expect the most brilliant of my friends to understand when I talk about ARCs, pre-empts, MSs, MCs, or Dark Nights of the Soul (absolute favourite literary term :) And I don't expect you guys to understand my job or Japan related terms. When I mention JET, ALTs, tenkin, sakuramochi, etc, I explain. 

No, I'm talking about a normal conversation. A conversation where you ask "when?" And receive a verb as an answer. Oh, or better yet, when the answer has absolutely no relation to the question. And then you have to keep breaking down your original question until it's Gerber's Peas and Carrots. 

Thanks, but no thanks. You are the weakest link. Goodbye. 

(for Americans who might not know, "full stop" is what we British system types call the dot at the end of a sentence.)

There is nothing like having to communicate mostly by IM to really understand the difference between levels of intelligence/education. I've got one friend who I honestly believe has not used a punctuation mark in all 4 years I've been here. Hismessagesarriveasoneindecipherablechunk. It's not quite that bad, but that's what it feels like. 

I appreciate that people make typos and that there is a reduced need for punctuating online. Still, the end objective is communication. If I have to read each "sentence" 5 times and a few minutes of conversation give me a headache, you're doing something wrong. 


In Barbados, we enter secondary school according to our results in an island-wide exam. (British system peeps may have - or have had - the Common Entrance Exam.) I went the top school, meaning, obviously, I was smart. I always prided myself on being the type of person that didn't let that go to my head. To make sure of that, I never differentiated against anyone on the basis of intelligence or intellectual ability. In fact, I don't really discriminate for anything. If you want to be my friend, I'm like koolio!

Clearly that strategy has failed, as I am now up to my neck in stupid questions and indecipherable conversations. It's beginning to feel like an epidemic. Like more people are getting stupider. And I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I do need to set up some lower limits. I mean I never have these issues with certain people, and I always have them with others. 

What do you think? Should I start "discriminating?" Hide from the people who give me headaches? Tell them straight-up they're not making sense? Do you "discriminate" when making friends? Do any of these things make you crazy?  Is the virus spreading?


Megan said...

Oooo...another language person. What are the other four languages you speak? How did you learn?

Claire Dawn said...

Hi Megan, seems we have quite a bit in common. lol. I speak English, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. I live in Japan right now.