Who is she, again, the question gets asked and asked, and oftentimes asked without the intention of waiting for an answer, a particularly annoying contemporary trait we have all acquired. But how many of us avoid asking any question like this at all? Responses are not answers; I’ve asserted this before in other essays. There are plenty of responses we give. My mouth is often like a knee to a doctor’s mallet. We feign attachment to or connection with the words we use to respond, but the answers we seek are not to be found in response after response unmediated by anything other than how we play hop-scotch with words. Of course, to respond or to answer could both be non-verbal, but these non-verbal ways of answering or responding are not what I am focussing on.
Do not answer a question with a question she used to say, a woman I once knew. No question is an answer, yet we offer questions as answers time and again, responding as we do not with rhetorical questions, rhetorical questions sometimes offered as answers, mostly as rebuttals–I do and do not have a problem with rhetorical questions; but the questions in responses that avoid answering, or the responses that are meant to fill spaces, to stretch time, what time? The time until the questions go away?
Everything to avoid answering–there is no extent that a person will not go to avoid thinking, to avoid taking responsibility, itself an interesting twist in the connotation, how responsibility is connected etymologically with response, but then as we say, to respond is not in itself to answer. Answerability is what we should seek. The latter is Anglo-Saxon, rooted in the native language we speak; the former, response, is rooted in French, a foreign connotation, a different etymology. In French, repondre, from the Middle French respondre, from where it made its way into Middle English. Of course, this word formed from the word that came from Latin respondere, formed from the Latin word spondere, or to guarantee or assure. It is the origin of our word ‘sponsor.” The prefix ‘re’ coming from the Romance language lineage, meaning ‘again’ or ‘back’ as we see in the word ‘return’ which means ‘come back.’ To guarantee again, to sponsor what is said–is that what we do when we respond, or is it simply to reply, which comes from the Middle French ‘to repeat’ or ‘to turn back,’ having its origins in Latin, where replicare can mean to reply or to replicate, as the French word can also mean in some connotations, but further back it means, to fold over, or to fold back, which is interseting because it is exactly what we do most of the time with our repsonses, we fold over the question asked.
Irrespective of any answer to any question, She is. A woman is–and to say that a woman is a choice is to say whatever the woman in question is is hers to choose? Perhaps that would be in the ideal; or is it true in the specific case of every simple separate woman?
To respond is not to answer but to fold back over the question and once again I assert that she is, not in response, but in answer to every question posed rhetorically against her. In this is, she is, she remains a macrocosm to every group or category she belongs.