Columns & Blogs

Bonnie Bing: Serious or not, wondering is what we do

After my last column ended with, “What do you wonder?” I got some answers both in person and in e-mails.

Vicky said she wonders why people who turn their car in front of her don’t curve it around instead of cutting the turn short so they barely miss her car. Sally wonders why she can’t get her hair to look like a picture she has of Tyra Banks. Joyce said she wonders what this world will be like for her grandchildren when she’s gone. Betsy and several others wonder what happens when you die.

All this made me wonder how many times a day we think, ‘I wonder …….’

Since I started writing about it I’ve found myself being more aware of this question. Personally I wonder why someone driving in the left lane will not even consider getting into the right lane, even when driving under the speed limit.

I wonder why I get behind the person in the bank drive-through that surely must be refinancing their house, motorcycle and cars.

Also I wonder if there will be a time companies won’t take checks. Yes, that’s right, a check out of a checkbook. Paper.

I wonder if I will ever learn to use a leaf blower without covering myself in leaves and debris. It’s much trickier than I ever imagined. I wonder why I can’t wear a white blouse for more than hour before getting something on the front of it.

I wonder if I’ll live long enough to take a weekend trip to the moon. I doubt that one for a number of reasons, but I still wonder.

And I wonder what children will face through their lives and what the world will be like by the time they are grandparents. In 20 years I wonder at what the age expectancy will be.

“It’s good to be curious.” That’s what my mom said to my brother when he told me to quit asking so many questions. I was 7 years old, he was 10. While he was wondering how he could make his bike go faster, I was reading like a maniac. It wasn’t my fault I had questions for the author, but of course they weren’t around so I asked mom or dad or big brother.

I recently read a short article by journalist Tina Brown who says being inquisitive is not just her profession, it’s a way of life. She advises us, “Do something you haven’t done before. Go to a place you haven’t been before.”

Amen, sister. If you wonder what it’s like somewhere else in the world, regardless if it’s near or far away, get going. If that’s impossible, read about it, talk to people who have been there and satisfy at least some of your curiosity.

In Mrs. Norby’s sixth grade class we were assigned to pick a country and do a report on it. I couldn’t make up my mind so I finally chose Portugal. I wasn’t all that curious about Portugal, but someone else had already chosen France. By the time I finished reading about Portugal in Comptons Encyclopedia, (long before Google), I was convinced I would go there someday.

A mere 17 years later I did just that.

I wondered why my parents looked like they were sending me off to war when I turned and waved before getting on the plane. It was probably because I was going alone. One by one the friends who had said they’d go had bailed on me, just like they did the summer before. Going it alone was fine with me. Truth be told however, once I was in New York for one night, I woke up wondering if I was taking on more of an adventure than I should.

Nah. Next morning I jumped out of bed, got ready, hailed a cab to the airport and was on my way to Portugal and Spain. From the first meal in Portugal, it was obvious I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. The hamburger I ordered came with an over-easy cooked egg on top of it. I wondered why the cook thought an egg was tastier than cheese.

Curiosity is a good thing. Whether you’re wondering why a woman you see at the grocery store doesn’t look in the mirror before she leaves the house, or wondering if researchers will find a cure for a disease that has touched your life. Serious or not, wondering is what we do.

When discussing difficult problems in our society we often hear, “Well, it is what it is.”

That’s when we need to be curious enough to find out “But why is it?”

Reach Bonnie Bing at