Nate posts more than me. I admire his commitment to the yourselfinfiveyears readers. I also admire Nate's ability to stay direct with me in his attempts to get me to blog more.
"Did you blog?" he'll ask me in the morning (post-hug). Other times, he'll say, "you need to blog tonight. Blog about [insert topic]."
That's something you have to admire about Nate: he's direct. Me? I'm more passive aggressive. It's a skill (?) that I learned over time that helps me to fulfill my lifelong quest to avoid controversy. (As a sidenote: earlier this year, I dedicated myself to "boldness" in 2008. I'm attempting to embrace the benefits that can result from speaking your mind. So far, that boldness has landed me with exactly zero dates, and some upset friends and family members). But, back to 'voluntelling.' Here's an example.
Last week, I was on a client call, and it went something like this:
Me: "Sorry to volunteer you, Charles, but I'm wondering if you could [insert task]"
Charles: "Sure, no problem."
Client: "Um, I don't think that's called 'volunteering,' R. J., I think that's called 'voluntelling.'"
Since then, this hybrid verb, 'voluntelling,' has shown up repeatedly in my life. I submitted an entry to Urban Dictionary for it. Not only because it's funny, but because there are so many times throughout a day that voluntelling is used as a way to instrust, ask or demand someone to do something.
I got a taste of my own medicine last week when I was voluntold to share my allotment of two swimming lanes at the weekly swim lesson I teach. In this instance, the aquatics director approached me on the pool deck:
Her: "Hi R. J."
Her: "I wanted to run something past you"
Me: "Sure, what's going on?"
Her: "You don't mind giving one of your swim lanes to Peter"
Me: ". . . "
I had no response.
Because there was no response; there was no question! To voluntell is to make a statement that's cleverly diguised as a question, but it's positioned in a way you can't refuse. Or if you do refuse, you're going to later say, "you know, that really wasn't worth it." Because it just wasn't. So instead, you agree. Or don't say anything in response. Because the voice and inflection made you think it was a question. And you were momentarily under the spell. A swaying pocketwatch. You're getting sleepy. You've been told. Voluntold.
So this week, be on the look out for:
"you wouldn't mind if. . . "
"sorry to volunteer you. . . "
"you can't see. . ."
"you probably wouldn't. . . "
"you don't care. . ."
"sorry that I didn't mention it earlier. . . "
I'm sure there are others. Sorry to ask, but you wouldn't mind commenting on what I'm missing on this list.