It is not true of the past or the present to say that ‘only the rich or those on vacation can take journeys’. Most men make some journeys. Whether long or short, with an errand or simply to go ‘there and back again’, is not of primary importance. As I tried to express with Bilbo’s Walking Song, even an afternoon-to-evening walk may have important effects. When Sam had got no further than the Woody End he had already had an ‘eye-opener’.
For if there is anything in a journey of any length, for me it is this: the deliverance from the plantlike state of helpless passive sufferer, an exercise however small of will, and mobility- and of curiosity, without which a rational mind becomes stultified.
I want a Star Trek series that’s about the worst ship in the fleet, the type of people Starfleet can’t quite fire but can try their damndest to make go as far away as possible. Drunk captain. Low achieving lieutenants. First mate who’s just a little felonious. I want to see what kind of missions they’re given.
“One of my wife’s distant friends has attempted to invite herself to stay with us, again,” writes the exasperated owner of a prime 2 bedroom apartment in New York City in this Ask MetaFilter question. “She did this last March, and we used the excuse of me starting a new job and needing to do x, y, and z as well as the “out of town” excuse for any remaining dates. This got us off scot-free, but we both knew the time would come again… and it’s here. We need a final solution.”
He goes on to list two different possibilities he can think of for getting this woman to stop asking for free room and board. The first is a little white lie, something about their keys being hard to duplicate. The other is to be vague, to say something like “Sorry, that isn’t going to work for us” and hope she doesn’t ask why.
The first few answers give this poster very direct advice: Just say no. No need to give an explanation, it’s her who’s being rude by asking. Others give him advice that was probably more like what he was expecting: other ways to be vague like claiming that it’s “One of those random `Life in NYC things.’”
Another thread of discussion popped up around whether or not the woman asking for a place to stay was being rude. Some posters couldn’t understand how simply asking to stay in someone’s apartment was rude, while another went as far to say that putting someone in the position “having to be rude and say no” was rude in and of itself.
It is into this context that user tangerine contributes this answer:
This is a classic case of Ask Culture meets Guess Culture.
In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it’s OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.
In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes. Guess Culture depends on a tight net of shared expectations. A key skill is putting out delicate feelers. If you do this with enough subtlety, you won’t even have to make the request directly; you’ll get an offer. Even then, the offer may be genuine or pro forma; it takes yet more skill and delicacy to discern whether you should accept.
All kinds of problems spring up around the edges. If you’re a Guess Culture person — and you obviously are — then unwelcome requests from Ask Culture people seem presumptuous and out of line, and you’re likely to feel angry, uncomfortable, and manipulated.
If you’re an Ask Culture person, Guess Culture behavior can seem incomprehensible, inconsistent, and rife with passive aggression.
Obviously she’s an Ask and you’re a Guess. (I’m a Guess too. Let me tell you, it’s great for, say, reading nuanced and subtle novels; not so great for, say, dating and getting raises.)
Thing is, Guess behaviors only work among a subset of other Guess people — ones who share a fairly specific set of expectations and signalling techniques. The farther you get from your own family and friends and subculture, the more you’ll have to embrace Ask behavior. Otherwise you’ll spend your life in a cloud of mild outrage at (pace Moomin fans) the Cluelessness of Everyone.
As you read through the responses to this question, you can easily see who the Guess and the Ask commenters are. It’s an interesting exercise. (#)
After this comment many users, including the original poster himself, began to use these terms in discussing the issue. And why wouldn’t they? Ask Culture and Guess Culture describe two valid yet opposing ways of interacting with the world with very little value judgment given to them. Framing the argument as such was a stroke of utter genius by tangerine, broadening the perspective of many who participated in the discussion and adding to the general lifebuzz.
Thanks for responding! I’ve been re-reading books from my childhood lately too, but I’d forgotten completely about Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Reading her name in your post was liking reading a magic spell. I’m going to have to pillage my local library’s kids section again…
RULE #1: Always post the rules. RULE #2: Answer the questions of the person who tagged you and write 11 new ones. RULE #3: Tag 11 people and link them. RULE #4: Let them know you tagged them
I think I got this right- I answered just bakerstardis’s questions and the people I tagged are kindly requested to answer my questions!
1. If you could live in any fictional world, which would it be? It’s so hard to choose! I spent a lot of my childhood wishing desperately to find a way to one fictional world or another. I’m going to have to say Tolkien’s Middle Earth because I’ve loved it for the longest!
2. You could instantly be a master at any one skill. What would you choose? Another hard one! I love making things and I call my self a “serial crafter” because I get obsessed with a new craft and go all out before moving on to learning something new. Right now, I would love to suddenly be able to make stuff out of glass. I love watching glassblowers, and I made a few lamp-worked beads a long time ago, but didn’t have the time to get good at it.
3. First movie you remember watching as a child? E.T.- I was about 5, and I loved it and was terrified at the same time. I had to keep the light on for months because I was afraid ET was going to come to my room while I was sleeping!
4. Favorite stuffed animal? It’s a toss-up between a Meerkat my brother gave me and a Ringtail Lemur my husband gave me.
5. You’re going to survive an apocalypse. Which type do you want it to be? Which do you want it not to be? Ooh, good question! I would prefer the kind of apocalypse where society has to drop all recent technology and turn back to handcrafts and farming. I was a medieval reenactor for a while, so I have a lot of obsolete skills that I could use. A friend once told me that she wanted to live with me and my husband when the apocalypse comes since we both have useful pre-industrial skills. I took that as a high compliment! I definitely DON’T want to be in a Zombie Apocalypse. Zombie movies give me bad dreams like no other horror movies, and I had to read World War Z in one sitting all night long because I didn’t want to try to sleep before the outbreak was over!
6. How many blankets do you sleep with? One down comforter through almost all the year.
7. You can change your name what do you choose?
When I was in 2nd grade, I wanted to be called Annie after the Li’l Orphan. In Middle school I wanted to have a LotR-type name or else something unpronounceable and Celtic. I think Now I’d go for a lovely Italian name like Francesca or Elisabetta.
8. Do you like polka dots? In certain contexts that don’t include my clothes. I have red and white polka-dot oilcloth on my kitchen table, and a couple of pairs of polka-dotted socks.
9. Can you sing? Sort of- I love to sing at the top of my lungs while driving, but I’m not very good at it. I don’t have a very wide range, which makes singing along to Florence and the Machine challenging! I play the ukulele just a little, and when I start playing and singing my cat gives me dirty looks and my husband retreats.
10. Do you rake leaves?
I do, although my husband would tell you that he does most of it. I live in the Midwest among lots of trees, which are very pretty until they drop their leaves in the yard.
11. You can change one thing in the canon of your fandom, what would it be? Such power! I think it would have to be the number and visibility of female characters in the canonical Hobbit and LotR books. Galadriel, Eowyn, and Arwen are all great characters, but I wish there were more variety in female characters, especially more who play matter-of-fact roles without having their femininity be their defining feature. (So even though I’m a bit of a purist about Tolkien, I loved the addition of Tauriel in DoS!)
My questions: 1. What was your favorite book when you were in middle school? Do you still love it now?
2. What TV show/Book/Movie do you secretly love even though your friends don’t agree?
3. Do you get along with little kids?
4. What did you like best about the winter holidays this time around (whichever holidays you celebrate)?
5. Do you like to dance?
6. If you could choose one food from a fictional world to taste, what would it be?
7. What is your wildest fantasy of a dream job?
8. What’s your favorite kind of game to play?
9. If you could create a perfect space to read in, what would it be like?
10. What superpower would you most like to have?
11. Would you rather have a risky adventure or be comfortable and safe?
Hi! I’m a little late to the introductions, but here goes:
I go by Nora, I’m in my mid-30s and I live in the Midwest of the USA. I’ve been a fan of Tolkien ever since I was in first grade and my dad gave me a copy of the Hobbit. I often claim (only partly joking) that he raised me to be a Tolkien fan and I had no choice in the matter! My dad liked the linguistic world-building of the books, and when I was little he did utterly nerdy things with me like teaching me the Greek alphabet and reading Middle English poetry. When I finally read his copies of the Lord of the Rings in the summer before 6th grade, I was hooked. I staid up later and later to keep reading. The books had gotten water damaged while stacked in the basement, so the first book was just a little musty, but Return of the King was falling apart in my hands. I felt like I was reading Gondorian annals or the Book of Mazarbul!
That first read was an unforgettable experience. In the years that followed I read as many of Tolkien’s books as I could. I remember spending my allowance money on the Lays of Beleriand! In those days I could have recited all the Valar from memory, but this was *cough* a long time ago (before the ‘History of Middle Earth” books were published, so I haven’t read those). My passion waned sometime in high school, although I’ve retained a deep love for Tolkien and a lot of lovely memories. I was already out of college when the movies came out, and as much as I love them, the books are nearest to my heart.
I re-read the Hobbit and LotR books every few years, and I’m excited to read along with such a diverse group of fans! I haven’t thought very much about how I’ll contribute, but crafting is sure to be involved at some point. I’m going to use a three-volume hard-cover set that my husband has had for years rather than my dad’s fragile old books