Answering the Unanswerable


Liam likes to ask those questions that just don’t have answers. The problem is, he really wants one anyway. In self-defense, I’ve come up with a few responses that fit and use them every time. Now, a conversation on a long road trip goes something like this:

Liam: What’s he hauling?

Me: Ass

Liam: Are we going the right way?

Me: Still.

Liam: Where do you reckon he’s going?

Me: That way.

Most of the time, he’s not really looking for answers so much as just wanting to make noise—get my attention. On occasion, the question will have a legitimate answer, and the conversation changes a bit.

Liam: What’s he hauling?

Me: Porta-Potties.

Liam: Are we going the right way?

Me: I have no idea. You missed the turn four miles ago.

Liam: Where do you reckon he’s going?

Me: That way.

Answering “where’s he going?” is nearly impossible, unless we happen to know the person in the car and have been given some idea of the destination beforehand. Fortunately, Liam seems to understand there’s no solid response to the question and I’m not psychic.

But one time…one time while traveling in Connecticut, a state where neither of us knew a soul, we got an answer. We’d gone away for the weekend and experienced trouble with the car. With a barely-there alternator, we putted to the Honda dealership to get it fixed. As we struggled, a little old lady passed us like we were sitting still, and there came the question. “Where do you reckon she’s going?”

I looked over and took stock of the blue hair, pearl necklace, and old-fashioned frock and tried to give an original guess. “Bingo.”

He accepted my offering. What evidence did he have to the contrary? We continued on our merry way to the dealership, where we got an answer to the unanswerable for the first time. There at the service desk stood the little, old lady with her keys to her Honda.

Liam was so freaked by this unexpected resolution he didn’t ask again for years.

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4 thoughts on “Answering the Unanswerable

  1. I wonder about Liam sometimes. Nothing I can put my finger on, just a general sort of nagging suspicion that he’s a leprechaun, sent to Tennessee on a top secret mission from the L-I-C (Leprechaun-In-Chief), which will be explained in the fullness of time.

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