“George,* would you like something to drink?”
“Sure,” he answers.
A thick silence spreads across the kitchen. A weighty look passes between my daughter and her friend.
George has been coming to our house long enough now that I felt completely comfortable saying to him,
George, Sure is not the same as Yes or Yes, please or even No, thank you. ‘Sure’ says that you are doing me a favour.
Do not do me any favours here.
I offered you a beverage. In making that offer, I was essentially going to do you a favour. And I am happy to do so. Although, somewhat less so when you answer with, ‘Sure.’
He looks suitably chagrined.
My daughter turns around and challenges him with raised eyebrows and a loaded, “See?”
While that might not have been strictly necessary, we all laugh. Clearly, she has already mentioned that this is a sore point with me.
During my senior year of high school, I was a ward of the state and lived with a girlfriend and her family. On one of my first afternoons at their home, I was offered a snack. I made the mistake of answering with a non-committal, “Sure.”
My friend’s mother had MS, and had a hard time getting around. Looking back, I remember that I didn’t want to take up any more room or cause any more work than was absolutely necessary. Instead, I earned myself a passionate lecture – one I never forgot.
It appears I’ve just offered the same lecture.
So, I try again.
“George, would you like something to drink?”
A lesser lad would say, “No,” with the lowest profile possible.
To his credit, the boy says, “Yes, please.”
And I happily pour a glass.
*names changed to protect the not-so-innocent