The English language is rife with problems, but there is one in particular that I think causes us all regular pain: the ability to state things that should be questions in a non-question form.
This wasn’t too much of a problem throughout high school as I wasn’t very social. However, my first college roommate was extremely peppy and put this linguistic flaw to good use in our first week together by informing-- not asking-- me that I was going on a double date with her and her boyfriend the next Friday to the ice cream place in the campus bookstore.
Not having yet learned the social skill of answering question-statements, I did nothing to prevent this catastrophe but rather, bewildered, went along with it.
When that dreaded Friday first rolled around, it started off Rather badly. My date Kevin showed up with my roommate’s boyfriend two and a half minutes late. Not one to stand for lateness, I started to speak, he opened the door. But my roommate stamped on my foot and restrained myself.
Stepping into the car, I had means to hold my tongue again. The inside of the car looked like a tornado had given birth in the back-- a disorder so complete it was almost immaculate. There was at least 6 water bottles in the back and heaven knows when it was last vacuumed. Through the first part of the drive, he attempted to start conversation--asking me what I majored in, how my day was etc. Not wanting to say something rude. I didn’t respond Fortunately, halfway to the bookstore, he turned the radio on rather loudly, which greatly decreased my temptation to speak.
Dinner itself wasn’t so bad-- my roommate and her boyfriend did most of the talking so there was little awkwardness. Except for the long silence after I switched the position of the cups and spoons. That was a little awkward-- but the waitress did it wrong.
Suddenly, my date’s face turned ashen and pale. His eyes locked on the door. Through it marched a perfect femme fatale-- tall and slender with long dark hair streaming behind her, and an angry, contemptful expression locked onto her face. Within a minute she was standing right beside my date. The mere look in her eyes made my roommate and her boyfriend subconsciously slide a few inches away from her.
“Kevin,” she hissed in his ear “what do you think you are doing?”
“Who are you?” I spoke up for the first time. It was an honest question, but it earned me a glance so cold it would freeze wasabi.
“I am Kevin’s girlfriend.”
“You broke up with me a month ago.” Kevin whispered the phrase and, luckily for him this maddened woman chose to ignore him.
“He’s mine. Alright?”
“He couldn’t possibly be-- slavery was abolished in 1865!” I pointed out.
With a banshee scream, she lunged straight at my throat.
Now, one of my mother’s desperate attempts to get me to socialize as a child, was forcing me to take Tai Kwan Do lessons. I never liked it, and was never very good at it, but right now it actually did give me an edge against the pure rage hurtling itself towards me. I was able to get out of the way, and with a loud ‘KIYAP!” I kicked her right in the stomach.
For a full minute, she stayed on the ground, trying catch her breath without retching up whatever was in her skinny stomach. Then she hurried away.
Now, Kevin and I never dated again, but he did become one of my good friends until he left for grad school. In fact, one of the proudest non-academic moments of my college career was when his next girlfriend asked me to be a third wheel on a few of their dates when his crazy ex started stalking them.
So, you see, sometimes being friendzoned isn’t a bad thing: sometimes it just means that you are a champion.