We all get asked some pretty weird questions from time to time. The following Quora users take the time to share some of their most outrageous experiences with strangers that led to a 'Did they really just ask that' moment.
Source list available at the end.
“Back in 2012, one of my best friends and I were traveling to her farmhouse when her dad asked me, ‘Have you seen the universe?’
It was totally out of context, and therefore, a bit surprising to me. I didn’t understand, so I asked if he was referring to the actual universe or a movie (or something), but I got a vague answer, so I explained the best that I could by saying, ‘Yes, I have from my telescope, and I saw the stars and all.’
They still didn’t seem satisfied and asked me what it felt like. Now, my childish mind was very confused, so we left it at that. However, things didn’t end here.
Years later, I met her again and the same thing was repeated. This is by far the weirdest question that I’ve been asked, and I still don’t get it.”
“My children are adopted internationally. While discussing the adoption process with a friend of mine she asked me, ‘You know that their government plants those babies here so when they grow up they can spy for their home countries, right.’
I started laughing because I thought she was surely joking, but she wasn’t laughing along with me and said it in all seriousness.
‘No really, it’s true.’
This was a good work friend, and someone I had known for a while. She was a veteran, intelligent, and had a great sense of humor. All I could respond with was, ‘Huh, I’ll be careful then…’ and changed the subject.
As if that question wasn’t strange enough, years later, I was out in public with my children, and a complete stranger came up to us and said the same thing. Being an interracial family, people often ask us ignorant and weird questions, but this one was by far the worst.”
‘Excuse me? Do you mind keeping an eye on me? I think I’m going to fall asleep. If I do, would you please be kind to wake me up?’ requested the girl sitting on the bench ahead of me. This was right before the proctor could hand out our final board exam question papers.
It appeared she had stayed awake studying the entire previous night while also stressing herself out over the exam early next morning. But come morning, she realized she had taken things too far. With eyes bloodshot and a dazed appearance, she asked me for help because she was certain she’d lose herself to sleep at any moment. She needed me to keep an eye on her to check that she was still scribbling on the answer sheet every now and then.
Guess what? She did, in fact, doze off one hour into the examination. And I dutifully poked her back with my pen to wake her up after about 15 minutes of snoozing. It was one of the most unusual/memorable examination hall experiences I’ve ever had!”
Brand New Adventure
“My wife and I (after more than a decade of running our own commercial printing company and watching the ‘new’ digital world slowly gobble up our profits via computers and printers) decided that life was too short and to see if it was possible to sell our declining business and take early retirement.
It was our last shot at having any kind of meaningful retirement, and after 9/11, we both agreed that life was too short to not be enjoyed/ trapped in this employment that we both had grown to hate. Luckily, after a year, our company was sold. It wasn’t for as much as we had hoped for, but with the sale of our house and everything that we owned, we still believed that we could survive and enjoy one last great adventure.
And six months later, we landed at Juan Santamaria airport in Costa Rica with two suitcases each and our dogs, Tubby and Beano. Despite only having been there only once before and knowing that we were taking a huge risk, we absolutely loved it. We settled in, saw the country, met our neighbors. Everything was new, different, and a total change from our past life. We built a new home despite having no friends, connections, or people whom we knew to steer us in the right direction. But in spite of it all, I grew bored and so I started a blog with no hidden meaning and/or expectations.
I posted in forums and places where I figured people would read about what we were doing. I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect. Gradually, a following of readers appeared. They started asking questions and commenting. They wanted to know more about my life in Costa Rica and things like: ‘How much did things cost?’ ‘Were the people there friendly?” and ‘Could you access the internet easily?’ etc.
Then, one day, a reader asked me if I could help him find a house. He wanted to see ours, so he could see if he could accomplish the same things that we had done. He visited, saw our home, loved it, and eventually, we found a piece of land for him and helped him build a home. That lead to us wondering if we could start a business doing this. That one question led us to become one of the largest realtors and developers in the country in a VERY short amount of time despite having zero experience in real estate and no prior construction experience. Also, we spoke no Spanish. It was almost like a dream or winning the lottery.
But eventually, it all caught up with us. The cultural differences were simply things that we couldn’t overcome, and we didn’t have enough money to last the downturns and other problems we were now encountering. It took me a long time to realize what I had really learned in Costa Rica as a result of one simple question.
It took a long time to accept that what we had learned, the good and the bad, it has meaning for the present and the future. So, I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
“When I was 15, I went to New York City for the first time. One evening, when I was picking up some shampoo at CVS, I noticed a guy in the aisle next to me who looked completely confused. He was well-dressed, probably in his early twenties, and standing in the women’s makeup section clearly out of his element.
Before long, he turned to me and said, ‘Excuse me, this may be a bit of a strange question, but could you help me pick out one of these things? My sister’s looking for one of those things that girls use to cover up blemishes on their skin. I just wanted to get her something small as a bit of a present.’
This was pretty surprising now. Not only because I had heard that New Yorkers never really spoke politely to strangers, but also because I hadn’t even washed my face that morning. I couldn’t believe this guy was actually trusting someone like ME with makeup advice.
‘Okay, you’re either looking for foundation or concealer,’ I ventured with a smile hoping that some false confidence would make up for my lack of expertise. ‘I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to try it on your skin, though, you really can’t ask your sister to try it first?’
‘It’s supposed to be a present,’ he said helplessly. ‘Her skin’s basically the same as mine, though.’
We ended up testing a sample tube of concealer. ‘What do I do with this?’ he said while holding it out towards me in a completely baffled way.
‘Just try it on the back of your hand,’ I said. I probably sounded even more awkward than he did.
He smeared this tiny little dot into the back of his hand and then rubbed it the way you might grind down on a bug you’re trying to kill. We stared at his hand for a few seconds.
‘Hey,’ I optimistically offered, ‘That looks about two skin tones lighter. I mean that’s what the magazines say you should do.’ (By the magazines, I meant a single page in Teen Vogue that I had perused at a slumber party a few months prior.) ‘That should be perfect.’
‘Well, thank you so much,’ the guy said with a truly charismatic smile. ‘What’s your name?’
‘Kevin. Thanks for helping me.’
‘Sure, anytime. Hope your sister likes it.’
And then, he checked out and left. A few minutes later, I did, too.
I wonder if Kevin ever realized that he had chosen the completely wrong person to ask for makeup advice. Either way, it was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me, and I still think about it sometimes whenever I pass by a CVS.”
“I was in my early 20’s going for a high position as a personal assistant to a CEO of a German components company. They imported knobs and handles for all types of household and industrial equipment.
I brushed up on the company as much as I possibly could. Although, the internet was not the same in those days. I nervously sat at the commencement of the interview in front of the CEO and another director of the company. As you can imagine, it was quite a nerve-wracking moment. I had prepared myself for all sorts of interview questions. ‘What can you bring to the company?’ ‘Where do you see yourself in 5-years time?’ ‘Are you a team player?’ ‘How do you feel about staying late on occasion?’ But nothing could’ve prepared me for what came next from the CEO.
‘Do you like knitting?’
I thought this was one of the weirdest things to be asked at the time, and it threw me completely off guard. At first, I thought it was a trick question, and how best should I answer this. I was still turning it over in my mind, with absolutely nothing coming out from my mouth when the CEO obviously got fed up with waiting for my reply. He leaned forward and said, ‘Well, anyhow, just to let you know, you will not be getting any time for that here.’
I think I managed a little nod and went on with the rest of the interview. Although, I was now expecting the unexpected of other peculiar questions.The bottom line is, I got the job and stayed in that position for a few years until I got married and decided to have children.
PS. He was right. Never did find time for knitting.”
“My wife, our 8-year-old daughter, and our 9-month-old son were shopping the other day when an elderly woman walked up to my wife and said, “Aww, what beautiful children you have. Are they related?’
My wife let out a confused ‘Yes ma’am, they’re brother and sister.’
The woman then replied with, ‘Oh, and the same father?’ “
“I was at a science fair a few months ago as a junior judge. I was walking around these awkward 8th-grade students with their usual energy conversion projects and simple contraptions. Out of nowhere, a boy comes up to me and tugs on my sleeve. I’d seen this boy earlier in the day. He had a solo project and apparently no friends. While the other students chatted away, he’d been standing all alone behind his desk.
‘Hey, what’s up?’ I asked.
‘May I touch your hair?’
I was so surprised. This was one of the last things that I would’ve ever thought that he was going to ask me. After a moment of recovery, I simply thought: ‘Hey. what the heck. He’s just lonely and clearly different from his peers.’
‘Sure,’ I chirped.
He ruffled his hands through my hair and silently walked back to his desk.
I wonder who that kid grew up to become, and I wonder if the any of the greatest minds who are alive today were similar.”
“I was working as a police officer in the southern USA near the gulf coast. You don’t usually get winter weather all that often over here, but this time it was different. We were under a winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service (NWS), and there was both freezing rain and sleet falling and accumulating on the ground, roadways, and bridges. I mean it was pouring. The storm even had thunder associated with it which is something I had never heard of.
I was giving the radio operator a break to eat lunch when I received a phone call. Thinking it was another motor vehicle crash I answered. On the other end was a young lady who asked me, ‘When is this ice storm going to end?’ My bottom jaw hit the console in the radio room. I thought for a moment, and then I finally suggested that she could probably get a whole lot more of an accurate answer by calling the NWS or the local television weatherman.
She became irate and berated me for not having the answer. I calmly told her that my degree was in corrections and not meteorology, and that was why I didn’t know. She politely slammed the phone down and hung up on me.”
“Not long after I had started my law enforcement career, I was at the grocery store picking up a few groceries. I was in the checkout line behind a 20ish-year-old young lady. She turned around, glanced at me, started to turn back, and then suddenly realized that she knew me from my job. She turned back to me and said, ‘Oh hey! I almost didn’t recognize you with your clothes on (I was in jeans and a t-shirt instead of my uniform).’ About five or six people turned around to look at us as she realized what she had just said. She was so embarrassed she couldn’t even say anything.”
Can I Smoke?
“About two years ago, I was taking my dog for a walk. It was on one of the rare occasions we were walking outside of town and in the neighboring city instead. Somewhere along the line, we walked by a bus stop and this man came up to us. He was dressed in his Sunday best and didn’t seem like he was on any kind of drugs, nor did he smell like alcohol. The only thing that was strange about his behavior was the question that he asked me next.
Man: ‘Can I have a smoke?’
Me: ‘Yeah, sure.’ (I started to pull out my pack).
Man: ‘No. no. I have my own. Thanks. I just wanted to know if I could have one.’
Me (Frozen in confusion totally wondering if this guy’s trying to mess with me) ‘Uh, sure…’
Man: ‘Thanks.’ (He lit one of his own).
He made some comment about how my dog is cute, and then I went on my merry way.”