What’s The Stupidest Question A Stranger Has Ever Asked You?

Now I’m not one to pass comment but….

There I was, minding my own business yesterday, around two miles into a seven mile lunchtime run. I was happily loping along at a very respectable pace, enjoying the autumnal sun and surrounding scenery of the Lagan Towpath. This riverside walkway is always busy in the middle of the day with fellow runners, cyclists and strolling office workers. Today was no different, or so I thought.

Walking towards me were three twenty somethings, two males and a female between them. I paid them little attention, instead focusing on my pace and rhythm, like all elite distance runners do….ahem. It was therefore with some surprise that I noticed one of the men was gesturing towards me. He had something in his hand, which I couldn’t quite make out. A lost tourist, no doubt.

George R.R. Martin and that big iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland have a lot to answer for. The good people of Belfast are regularly accosted on their lunch breaks by roving gangs of octogenarian North American tourists seeking directions to the Game of Thrones studios or Titanic Museum. I know it’s done wonders for our tourist industry, but if there’s one thing I like less, it’s being asked directions mid-run. I mean, how rude!

Except, this wasn’t a holidaying pensioner, but rather a young man wearing a tracksuit and baseball cap. He wasn’t pointing a camera in my direction or waving a map of the city centre. Yes, he was holding something in his outstretched hand, but as I closed the gap between us, I realised it was none of the above tourist paraphernalia, but instead a cigarette. An unlit cigarette, for that matter.

I slowed as I approached him, and our eyes met. ‘Do you have a light?,’ he hopefully enquired. My jaw dropped to the ground as I considered my response and conducted a quick mental inventory. Nike trainers? Check. Base layer and running app. Yeah, I’ve remembered them. Packet of Benson & Hedges King Size and lighter? Darn, I knew I’d forgotten something. ‘Er….no,’ I replied as I hurtled past, a look of utter disbelief on my face.

I’ve been running for over four years and I’ve been stopped and asked some silly questions in my time. But this was a new one, even for me. I know runners who vape. I know runners who take the odd sneaky cigarette on a night out. I’ve even seen two guys standing puffing their brains out before the start of the Belfast Half Marathon, two years ago. But I’ve yet to encounter someone who would light up mid run.

My nicotine starved friend asked the question yesterday as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I’m still scratching my head about it, over 24 hours later. But it got me thinking? What’s the most pointless or inappropriate question you’ve ever been asked by a stranger? Or am I over reacting? Was my track suited friend posing an entirely reasonable request? There’s no such thing as a stupid question, right?

Post your experiences below. There’s no prize by the way. But you’ll have my undying gratitude.

39 thoughts on “What’s The Stupidest Question A Stranger Has Ever Asked You?

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  1. That’s really hard to say – I mean, does cat-calling and sexist queries count? Because some of those were properly stupid. “Hey, Babe, want a real man?” *blink* “Honey, are you not real? Do I need to find a USB port for you? “

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  2. How bizarre! I always wonder what goes through people’s heads… I don’t typically get stopped when running, fortunately. It is interesting that when walking in strange cities, I sometimes get asked for directions. Does it look like I know where I’m going? Or maybe I just have an approachable presence.

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  3. That’s a crazy question to ask. I’ve heard the term ‘hedged hedonism’ applied things like jogging to McDonalds or having a few pints after yoga class so perhaps what you encountered is the next level.
    Anyway, what happened to me wasn’t a verbal enquiry but it was just as daft. I was in a cubicle in some public conveniences and someone knocked at my door. My first instinct was to grunt something like “occupied” but then it occurred to me that what an odd thing to do. I would have tried the door to see if it was locked but, knocking? What was I supposed to do, open it and invite him in?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I never thought of knocking before, but it’s actually not a bad idea. Trying the door has been known to have undesirable consequences. If the lock is not functioning, the result could be an embarrassing moment for you both. (Please don’t ask me how I know. :/ )

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Ahahaha! That’s rich…I haven’t had anyone ask me oxymoronic questions before, but I did once have neighbors applaud as I ran, pregnant, uphill pushing a double stroller. That put a feather in my cap and a skip in my step.

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  5. I can’t remember the stupidest question I, personally, was ever asked. However, years ago I was in an elevator with two other people: a man and a very pregnant woman. The man turned to the woman and asked, “Are you pregnant or are you just fat?” I was very surprised he make it out alive. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to confess. I am one of those people. When I worked in a Christian bookstore a customer came in and asked me for a bible for the deaf. Believe me that is not a stupid question. There is one with a limited vocabulary. I didn’t know that then. But my response was the stupid question: “Do you mean an audio bible, the bible on tape?” No sooner were the words out of my mouth than I wanted to push them back in.I apologized and found the bible catalogue where I found what he was looking for.

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  7. I was bundled up in winter gear – the whole nine yards: parka, snow boots, hat, scarf, mittens, the works – and pushing a shopping cart through a store when a woman stopped me to ask, “Do you work here?” Um…no….now I’m not completely positive, but I’m pretty sure store employees remove winter garb before they start work – don’t they?

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