How to Answer a Question

Four Catholic schoolgirls sitting on a platform waiting for a train.A stranger comes by and asks,   “Does anyone have the time?”

Four hands shoot into the air.  He smiles.  They laugh in embarrassment.  The girl to get over it the fastest tells him its 3pm.

I was happy he smiled instead of calling on one of us because that would have involved standing up, looking him directly in the eye, speaking clearly and loudly and saying,

“It’s 3pm in the afternoon.”

There was only 1 proper way to answer a question in Catholic school.  If you answered lazily from your seat you would be reprimanded.  If the teacher could not hear you, “Speak up,” would interrupt you.  Sometimes people knew the answers but were afraid to stand up and speak.  Every eye fixed itself on the person answering the question.  Is she right?  Is it a good time to laugh?

I shied away from answering questions  myself since class participation had no effect on my grade point average.  But now when someone asks me a question I do not raise my hand or stand up but I  make sure I’m heard.




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