Never Say What You Are Looking For

Sometimes I wander around, obviously looking for something. People will see this, and ask what I am looking for. I don’t really want to say, because I know what’s coming next: (a) they try to help me find it, (b) they ask me the stupid questions, or (c) they try to sell me something.

(a) they try to help me find it

The problem here is I don’t like people going through all my stuff. My things are private, and I don’t want people digging through everything I own unless I ask them to (and I didn’t ask them to). Looking through my things violates me, and it doesn’t really find anything faster.

(b) they ask me the stupid questions

The stupid questions are where were you when you last had it, where were you doing when you had it, and what were you doing with it? Why are these stupid questions? Because 99 times out of 100 I’ve already asked them myself. Asking me the stupid questions just wastes both our time.

(c) they try to sell me something

In a store, if I’m looking for something and they don’t have it, the clerk will suggest some other thing to buy instead. Of course, if I wanted that other thing, I would be looking for that instead. It never fails to amaze me that when I can’t buy something I want, somebody will expect me to buy something I don’t want — and be grateful to them for suggesting that.

So this is what I do

I never accept help in finding things — it just takes too long that way. Best of all, I avoid making it look like I’m looking for something in the first place.

And furthermore

I have often found that I can’t find something until I stop looking for it. I have no idea why that is, I’ve just seen it happen too many times to ignore.

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