Okay, this one happens way more than I think people even notice, or admit. I could see it happening in a restaurant, where the answer you give might actually make a difference to the bill. I keep seeing it, though, in civililan meals, where no restaurant is involved. I've had it happen at work, at home, and while in the homes of friends.
Here's the set-up:
I'll use work as the example today, alright?
So there I am, working away in the office. I'm sorting my mail, which is a pretty mindless task once you've sorted the same route about a thousand times or so, and I'm wearing my headphones. I'm listening to an audiobook, a story by Stephen King, or Michael Connelly, and I'm all mentally involved in that, not listening at all to what's going on in the office. Thus it comes a bit of a shock when the guy who works next to me suddenly pokes me in the shoulder.
I jump, startled, then pop one of the earbuds out and say “Yeah?”
The guy who works next to me has apparently gotten quite hungry since we clocked in less than an hour ago, and he's broken onto his lunch. He's thrusting a handful of wax paper at me, wax paper he's squeezing tightly to keep what's left of his sandwich from sliding out of. The actual affect of all this squeezing is that the inner workings of the sandwich are oozing out of the center of the mass like toothpaste from the tube. I can see well into the sandwich, by the way, because it's almost half gone, large crescent-shaped hunks missing from the end he's visually assaulting me with.
The mystery as to where the missing sandwich matter has gone to doesn't last very long. As my eyes follow his arm, from the hand holding the savaged mess right in front of my face to the end with the shoulder, I naturally find his face right up there over the shoulder. His face, with lips and part of one cheek smeared with whatever it is that's oozing out of the sandwich.
It's a good look for him. His wife is a lucky, lucky woman.
Did I mention the leaking stuff is brown? Well, brown-ish? I don't know what it is, or if it's supposed to be brown, but for his sake I sure hope so. 'Cuz if I find out that whatever it is it started out as another color and turned brown, like say over the course of time, then I'm going to hurl. I'll throw up right on him. I mean, what the hell, he's already got stuff that now is now brown but once-was-not smeared across his lips. Honestly, after that, do you really think a little thing like a splatter of used peanut-butter sandwich and bottled water is going to make an impression on him?
Yeah. Me neither.
So now, after I've processed all this, he asks his question, and his question begets my question.
“Does this smell bad to you?”
I just stare at him, so he asks again.
“This tastes like it might be bad, and I don't think it smells too good. Does it smell okay to you?”
So now I'm practically forced to ask my question. A series of questions, actually. Asked with both rising pitch and volume.
“Why the hell would I smell that, when you've already told me it smells bad? Why would I possibly want to stick my nose in there and get a good snoot-full of the badness? I don't even like the look of it, I sure don't want to smell it.”
My arms have begun to wave.
"And what the hell do you want me to smell it for? You've already eaten half of it-- if it was going to kill you you'd already be dead! And what difference does it make whether I think it smells good or not? You already said it tastes bad, and I guess you'd know since you already sampled half the sandwich, so what happens if I give it a sniff and say it smells like roses? That's going to make it taste better somehow? That's going to change your mind and you'll finish the thing? Either you like it or you don't, you don't have to drag me into your madness!"
Now it's his turn to stare at me, so he does.
He stares some more.
I wait some more.
He suddenly turns and taps the shoulder of the guy working to the other side of him. The other guy pops off his headphones, and turns to find a wax-wrapped squeezy sandwich oozing in his face.
"Does this smell bad to you?"
Talk to you later!