Rule #111: Motorcycle Rule
I follow a rule about asking questions in life, I never ask a question where “no” is not an acceptable answer.
If I intend to buy a motorcycle, and I am just being polite to Bobbi and asking her before I do it, I just don’t ask and just do it. Because in the end if she said no I’d ignore the answer and do what I want anyway. So why argue a point which I am unwilling to concede?
That rule sounds very harsh, but it is very seldom used and it says a great deal about the questions I do ask. The rule may only come into effect once every couple months, and I don’t want to give you the impression that I live my life doing whatever I want, when I want- I’m married, of course I don’t. I couldn’t be married and never ask for permission, advice or just opinion.
When I do ask Bobbi about that motorcycle I am fully prepared to accept her answer being no, and drop the issue. If I wasn’t prepare to accept her denial I should not have insulted her by giving her the impression that I was looking for her decision.
Too many of us go through life asking for permission to do things so that we can blame our decisions on another, or lack of action. We use these questions to mask our true feeling for something and feel less guilty about getting what we truly want. Its a shame but most of us spend a lot of time asking questions we already know the answers to, or never doing what we really want to do because we think we have to ask permission.
In a real way it has made men, in particular, appear weak and indecisive in a marriage. Instead of planning or acting men spend an significant amount of their lives asking permission do things. This pattern of asking questions that we will be unhappy with a no answer is what is leading to a lot of unhappiness in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong I thing women have a lot to do with this problem.
Bobbi and I have a routine that we will get into the car and I will say..” where do you want to go for dinner?” , and Bobbi will reply ” I don’t care and you pick”. Bobbi is lying when she says that and she really doesn’t meant it. Rather she wants me to guess at what she wants until by sheer luck I say the place she wants to go. In my experience all women do this , and I believe it is a technique to train men to only suggest places they will like and forego all their own choices. Women are evil that way. ( and very smart)
Bobbi has done this so long I don’t think I could even remember a restaurant that I truly love, but know the ones that she does. I also know the ones to suggest when I am in trouble that will instantly get me out of trouble. For me agreeing to a 3hr Melting Pot experience can get me out of most misdemeanors of marriage. As I said before women are evil, and men are pigs.
So there is a real art in asking questions. I believe in really listening to answers, and that when I ask a question I am trying to learn from someone else. I think we have to relearn how to talk to one another, and focus more on the important questions. Too much of our lives have been centered on being able to shift responsibility by asking a question rather than to shift direction in thought.
As I have grown older I have tended to act faster and ask only the important questions. It may because I see that as time becomes increasing limited, and I have less time to argue over things I am going to do regardless of the answer to questions.. In the later years of my father’s life he would say, “I’m set in my ways”, I now understand that meant he was done asking permission or questions.
Don’t worry Bobbi I have not ordered another motorcycle or gotten a tattoo….yet. But I do know that your answer to the question already.