asking the question

We have a question about the menu: what is chow-chow? A table of four library professionals, we are practiced in knowing how to find an answer quickly. The woman who seated us walks by, so we ask her. She responds, “Your server will be right with you.” A different woman approaches the table and asks if we would like iced tap water or bottled water. We agree to the tap water, then ask the water-giver our question: what is chow-chow? She responds, “Your server will be right with you.” Our server arrives, and we jump to ask the question: what is chow-chow? She says it is like cole slaw, except for– and then mumbles something I cannot hear. The dish with the chow-chow was my second choice, so I avoid asking any follow-up questions in case someone else needs to be sent out to answer them, and I order something else.

I go home, look up chow-chow on the web, and desperately attempt not to turn this into a metaphor.


Is it rude to pet someone's dog without saying hello to the person part of the equation first?

What is the word for "compulsion to buy cat toys even though they always prefer hair-ties and bottle-caps"?

Is it okay if FunkyPlaid has more (and prettier) fountain pens than I do now? Do I lose my fountain pen street cred? On which street might this cred be located?

Can you ever spend too much time thinking about the subjunctive?

Where can I find a Santa hat within the next 18 hours?

Did you ever listen to the podcast?

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.