Sunday, November 19, 2006


The other day a colleague was telling us about a frustrating drive he'd had with his L-plater teenager. Not necessarily stopping at intersections, a little bit of roundabout impairment maybe, nothing too unusal or surprising. (Though terrifying? Yes.) But what was bothering him most was her habit of saying 'I know' straightaway whenever he tells her anything.

This was all too familiar to me.

I still feel a twinge of the old shame whenever I use that phrase....and I still use it very sparingly.

In my early teens I developed that obnoxious habit of always saying 'I know' in that irritated tone, even when I totally didn't. Mum could only put up with so much of this, and told me frankly that it was obnoxious and that I had to stop it. Forced to think about it, I quickly realised it was pretty stupid, felt embarassed, and cleaned up my act.

My mate at work was pondering this teenage habit as a serious concern, perhaps even a symptom of the education system 'these days'. He was worried that his daughter really felt she knew enough and had no desire to learn more.

I delved into my shameful teenage past to give him my interpretation. I reckon it simply means 'I'm irritated and a bit embarassed that you have to tell me that. I hate the fact that something I did or said indicated that I didn't know it already'. It doesn't mean she's not actually taking in the offered bit of wisdom.

Gee I hope I was right and that next time she stops at the intersection.


Djaughan Zelmonde said...

I agree that the exasperated "I KNOW" is a bit of embarrassment camouflage. At least he didn't receive my pet hate, the teenage, ultimate dismissive "WHATEVVVVVVVVEEEEERRRRRRR". I HATE HATE HATE that!!!!!

zjcroft said...

oh geez I remember learning to drive, it was traumatic for everyone concerned!...I agree its most definitely a vain attempt at pretending you know exactly what you are doing...hey I still sometimes do that today...maybe not in those exact words...

Taphophile said...

Got another one. One of my young staff members qualifies all of her answers to a simple yes or no question with "I believe". I may have to throttle her, I believe.

louise said...

My Nanna got me out of the "I know" habit by imitating me in a mocking voice every time I said it (and I said it a lot).