I put a pin on my sweater as the final touch as I prepare for our book club meeting. This month we are comparing thoughts about the classic, “The Good Earth”, by Pearl Buck. Although most of us read it years ago, we decide to examine our school age impressions with current ones. I find the book is beautifully written, has a compelling story to tell, and is populated with interesting characters. I am looking forward to the discussion.
We all arrive at the meeting at 2:00 P.M. and greet each other before the discussion begins. Once it begins there will be no small talk, just book talk.
“Hi, Bethany. How was your trip to Cape Cod?”
“Steph, how’s the new grandbaby?”
“Nora, what’s happening with your living room rennovations?”
Then Sandy says to me, “What a pretty pin. Is it new?”
Unknowingly her question, ”Is it new”, touched a hot button.
Why do people ask if something is new as an addendum to a compliment? Is it better if it’s new? Does it matter when I bought it? Would they like to see a copy of my shopping diary? Is there such a thing as a shopping diary? Why can’t a compliment stand alone?
If I am introduced to my son’s girlfriend, would I say, “She’s very nice; is she new?” Or a friend’s new grandbaby. “He’s cute; is he new?” Does anyone ask a middle aged man if “she is new?” when introduced to his trophy wife.
So why do they ponder about my pin?
I guess I just don’t understand human inquisitiveness.
When we moved into our new house recently a stream of friends came over to see it. A close friend noticed the new table in the dining room. What do suppose she asked?
She said to me, “That’s a beautiful table. Is it old?”