Asking to ask

“Can i ask you a question?” a well meaning communard or guests will say to me.

“You can always ask me a question, and you never need to ask.” is my regular reply

Because we live, work and socialize in this tight little hyper village, we have a number of agreements as to how we will protect peoples personal space.  One of the most foundational is “Asking to ask”.   Let’s say you have had a hard day, you are at line for dinner, someone who has been trying to find you sees you there and approaches.  If they use this protocol, it makes it relatively easy for you to repulse their inquiry.  They are anticipating that you might not be wanting, in this particular moment, to talk with them about what ever it is that is so important to them.

I dislike this norm.

Ignoring for a moment that the person is already presuming they can ask you a question, by asking this first one.  It is inefficient and formulaic and it is basically never the case that i personally want someone to check in about talking with me.  And despite me repeatedly exempting everyone on the commune from this agreement in my particular case, almost everyone keeps doing it to me, despite repeated reminders.

And it is not a big deal.  i get why it  is important to some people i live with and i am happy that we take care of them in this way.i get to make my little speech about how i am special and dont need this form of care taking and then they get to remember that i have told them this perhaps a dozen times before.