110. Losing to the Home Team

Losing to the Home Team: Geraldine in Belfast warned me that the Irish could be quite nosey. They don’t mean any harm, they just need to suss you out, put you in context with their world. This means many a rousing game of 100 questions begins and before you know it you’ve shared half your life story to a total stranger. Geraldine told me “You don’t have to answer all their questions, you know.” Yeah right, I thought. These people have been at this game a lot longer than I and no amount of fancy footwork was getting me out of it. The only thing I could do was join them and try my best to win. It couldn’t be too hard. I am from Long Island after all. I know how to communicate like dancing, constantly moving around one another, switching topics and partners with ease without stepping on toes. I would just have to be fast enough to get the first question in about their personal life and then keep the string of questions going until my lungs ran out of air.

I tried this once with this elderly couple from Northern Ireland who were vacationing in none other than Northern Ireland. In a matter of moments they had asked me everything from what I thought of Ireland, to how many siblings my dad had, to why I didn’t have children yet. My head was spinning when I decided to put myself to the test. I asked them, had they ever been to the states? Where did their children live? And were they enjoying their vacation? I tried to time each question to start just as they’d managed to finish answering the last one, just like I’d learned from being on the other side of assault. But as soon as they spotted my weakness, an attempt to take a single inhale, they jumped at the chance to throw three new questions back at me, each. Gaah. Attacked from both sides. You win! I give up. Ask me anything, I’m at your mercy.


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