Thursday, October 02, 2008

overheard at dinner

Walking out from dinner on Monday, Dan and I passed a young couple.

Dan: "That was an interesting sentence to overhear."

Me: "What was it? I wasn't paying attention."

Dan: "She said, 'Don't just tell me, 'Do whatever you want.''"

Me: "So they were arguing?"

Dan: "Yeah. He thinks he's being flexible, by agreeing to whatever she wants to do. But what she really wants is for him to be an emotional participant in the latest crisis of the moment. A crisis that she probably manufactured in order to get a reaction from him."

Me: "That's quite the analysis."

Dan: [noises of humility]

Me: "We can be momentarily smug that each of us is not embroiled in this type of argument. For two months."

Dan: "Until those exact words are said to us?"

Me: "Right."

Dan: "In your case, you'd be the one saying them."

26 comments:

Jeremy said...

Dan is a wise man. Us guys tend to take things at face value and not look for any deeper or hidden meaning.

Anonymous said...

Dumb question - but I simply had to ask - why two months?

--axea

ArC said...

clearly, someone needs to keep score.

(Personally, I think Dan might be right, in which case the guy has anticipated the girl's initial trap and neatly avoided it, only to fall into her backup plan... I think I'll score this one 0.5 for the girl.)

writer said...

If I am correct in my guess as to who "Dan" is, that makes this anecdote even funnier.

Anonymous said...

Hey Niniane, who you gonna vote for?

Niniane said...

re: Jeremy. Dan is a guy and he read a lot of deeper meaning into the one overheard sentence. How do you reconcile that with your theory? :)

Bob said...

Niniane has a point there Jeremy. Dan did come up with a big analysis based upon one comment.

My theory is the guy was thinking of something else (blocking out her words) and chose a standard periodic answer of "Yeah, do whatever you want"

I think that is guy answer #43 from the list of responses to give when you aren't really listening to your significant other go on and on and on and on and.........

She was probably talking about painting a room. :)

smooth noodles said...

Dan: [noises of humility]

(snort!)

"Yeah. He is offering the expected false modesty common to all socialized geek apologists, while cleverly dodging her cheeky gambit. Had he taken the bait, there'd be a little tick mark next to his name in her dossier containing his complete, inflexible personality profile."

=)

Melinda O said...

@niniane: Jeremy is saying that Dan is wiser than the average man. Which, if it's the Dan I know, is definitely true.

The sentence "Do whatever you want" also bespeaks a kind of contempt. "Do whatever you want," because I don't care about you or what you do- possibly, with overtones of, "Your problems aren't worth caring about." She wants him to validate her and secondarily to validate her feelings of crisis.

I take issue with the "manufactured crisis" part of question, though. I have seen many situations where person A needs person B's input, person B says, "Do whatever" while secretly having an opinion, person A picks the wrong option, and person B gets mad. In this situation, person B is the one manufacturing the crisis by being passive-aggressive.

Melinda O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Niniane said...

re: Melinda. I know what "Dan is a wise man" means. I was responding to his second sentence, which is about how guys (including wise men) would not look for deeper meaning.

It is the Dan you know.

Niniane said...

re: Anonymous. I am voting for Obama.

Niniane said...

re: writer. In this case, Dan is actually someone named Dan. So you're probably not thinking of the right person, since you referred to him as "Dan".

But I made a guess as to who your guess is, and in fact the story is funnier if read in that context.

smooth noodles said...

In this case, the Dan you know is better than the Dan you don't. Or maybe: Dan'd if you do, Dan'd if you don't? I have got to get some work done today! :)

Anonymous said...

So does this post mean that you and Dan are a couple?

Niniane said...

re: Anonymous. No, we are not a couple! I am bemused as to why this post has generated so many false conclusions.

Melinda O said...

It's because of your statement, 'Me: "We can be momentarily smug that we're not embroiled in this type of argument."'
Because the arguers were a couple and because this kind of argument often comes up with couples, "We ... this type of argument" kind of implies that you were having this conversation with a romantic partner.

ArC said...

I am bemused as to why this post has generated so many false conclusions.

Seems appropriate though.

BTW, I really want to see you (or anyone) transliterate 'noises of humility' directly...

Niniane said...

re: Melinda. I changed it to "We can be momentarily smug that each of us is not embroiled..."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous. I was also hoping that Dan was THE one. Now I'm just disappointed.

ArC said...

So, in general, would you be more likely to be the "do whatever you want" person or the "Don't just tell me, 'Do whatever you want'" person?

writer said...

Okay. Yeah, the phrasing didn't sound like him, but I was unsure if you'd reproduced the phrasing exactly correctly. Indeed, now this anecdote is far less funnier to me.

Dan said...

Melinda: You're totally right that "manufactured crisis" is a stretch. Hell, the whole thing was a huge invented stretch based on one overheard comment out of context, so it's kind of weird anyone would call me "wise".

It's actually just as likely that the whole thing started because he got pissy about something and then she said "well, what do you want me to do?" and he said "do whatever you want" which is just passive aggressive and lame. (Obnoxious guy thing: wield detachment as a weapon in an argument.)

What's not captured here is the tone of the conversation - they were clearly having a crisis of some kind, manufactured or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Hey Niniane, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a fucking idiot do you think Sarah Palin is?

Thx.

ArC said...

Niniane or Dan or both: please track down the young couple (I assume, possibly incorrectly, that this was in Mtn View and it is a small town) and interview them at length about this situation, preferably both jointly and separately.

I need closure on this anecdote.

Anonymous said...

Niniane!! I totally found your white doppleganger! Check it out!!

http://cm1.dotspotter.com/media/0/53/5/audrina-patridge-pic_405x600.0.0.0x0.405x600.jpeg