I am not good at idle chit-chat, perhaps because I over-think the questions I'm asked and find myself stumped as to how to respond.
1. There's a common question asked to determine if the responder is an optimist or a pessimist: "Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?"
I see the question as fundamentally flawed. The glass is always 100% full. It is partially filled with a liquid and partially filled with a gas.
My response makes me neither optimist nor pessimist but an irritating nit-picker.
2. I took a multiple-choice test once that asked "Which of these three do not belong: the sun, the moon, and a candle?"
Everyone I've spoken to insists the candle does not belong. I say because the question is multiple choice, it lacks sufficient information to determine the proper response.
I can make a reasonable argument to exclude any one of the three choices.
The sun and the moon are heavenly bodies. A candle is not. Therefore, the candle does not belong.
The sun and a candle give off heat and light. The moon only reflects light. Therefore, the moon does not belong.
The moon and a candle have been touched by man. The sun has not been touched by man. Therefore, the sun does not belong.
Because the test was multiple choice, there was no opportunity to justify whichever choice I selected and no way to determine the answer the test creator intended.
3. In a college-level grammar class the instructor wrote "He ate Wednesday" on the blackboard and insisted there was only one correct way to read this sentence:
He (a man) ate (consumed a meal of some sort) Wednesday (on a specific day of the week).
I say that without context there is no way to know exactly what that sentence means.
"He" may or may not refer to a human male and, in addition to being the name of a day of the week, "Wednesday" is also a woman's name.
Therefore, in a story about cannibalism, "He ate Wednesday" could describe the consumption of a woman.
In an erotic story, "He ate Wednesday" could refer to a sexual act.
In a fantasy, "He ate Wednesday" could refer to a mythical being that actually consumes time.*
Therefore, I say the meaning of the sentence is determined by context, not by the sentence itself standing alone.
Alas, because I over-think these questions/situations, and because these questions/situations occur on a daily basis, I regularly find myself stumped by things that the person I'm with sees as black-and-white/yes-or-no questions/situations and I see as lacking sufficient information to answer or as having so many shades of gray that the response requires an essay and not a multiple choice selection from an overly simplistic list of options.
*Note: I'm actually trying to write this story.