When you’re getting ready to go on a trip, or just getting ready for work or school, don’t you tick off a mental checklist of what needs to go out the door with you? Keys, phone, ticket for that thing you gotta pick up, coffee mug, snack bar, et cetera, et cetera. You with me? So you’re heading out the door and someone you love dearly asks you — with a straight face — “Did you get everything?”
If it’s me and someone I dearly love asks me that casual question…it gives me pause. Because, how should I know? If something I need to get is something I didn’t remember to get, then I probably didn’t get it and how would I know I didn’t get it if I didn’t remember that I need to get it? Do you follow?
So my usual answer is, “I sure hope so,” because what is the logical answer? You know if you reply, out of a fount of unfounded hope, “Yep, I think I’ve got it all,” and you ain’t got it all, and that evening a loved one asks about that thing you were supoosed to pick up because they desperately need it now and there’s that dang ticket languishing on your desk because you didn’t get everything …. you’re going to catch so much flack!
It doesn’t seem to the questioner that they’ve asked such a loaded question. They’re just trying to help. They don’t know what “everything” is, after all (any more than you do).
There not only is no logical answer to, “Did you get everything?”, it’s actually foolish to reply at all! One time I answered , “Sure,” with a grimace that went unnoticed. I didn’t forget anything pertinent. However, I realized later that I had set a precedent that suggested to loved ones that it could be expected of me to actually be “sure” of all my responsibilities right down to the last item on my frantic mental checklist of things to go out the door with me.
But I get it. I don’t want to ask the loved one who is glancing around uncertainly, “Want to share your mental checklist with me so we can both be all about collecting your stuff together while my mental checklist goes unattended?” When I’m certain that I’ve got all of my own “everything”, though, I’m usually just as guilty as anyone else of asking, “Did you get everything?”