1.2.2 Everyday scenes
Activity 3: Openings to everyday scene
Think of examples of everyday scenes, at home or a work, which could be radically reshaped by an opening remark
For example, say you surprised a guest snacking from your fridge
You could take any tension out of the situation by saying, ‘While you’re there could you pass the milk’, and then chat about something else.
You could ask, ‘Are you hungry? Can I get you anything?’ hinting that you don't mind, but you would rather she asked first.
You could say, ‘I'm so sorry there wasn’t enough to go round at lunch’ – to make her feel guilty at slighting your generosity as host.
Or you could raise the emotional temperature by asking, ‘Do you normally help yourself in other people’s houses?’
How does each of these ways of opening the scene define you?
Your role may be to ignore, act resentful, be aggressive or request appropriate behaviour if this situation arose.
(Notice the significance of questions. Asking a question puts pressure on the other person to answer – to join in the scene with you, on the terms you have set up in your question.)
How does each define your guest?
You are sitting with family, or friends. The TV is on and you say, ‘Is anyone watching this rubbish?’ How does this question define you and how does it define the others present? What pressure does it exert on them? What alternative questions could you ask, which would define the scene differently and have a very different impact of your companions?
Stop and think of one or two other examples from your everyday life, where you could ‘change the scene’ by what you choose to say.