As a boy I once spent a few days with a family where you didn’t ask for anything at the dinner table. It certainly trained you to anticipate the other guests’ needs: salt, a piece of bread, more water. It probably taught me too much, actually. I tend to be a Guesser when the time comes for asking favours. On the other hand I am hopeless at reading clues and deciphering hints. I was at ease in Russia, where people routinely and peremptorily demand your time, efforts and money, only to smile graciously if you tell them to get lost. Nice try.
Misunderstandings arise when Guessers meet Askers. The former view the latter as boor; the latter don’t perceive convoluted approaches, leaving Guessers in the agony of having to be more direct, or desist.
This country used to be part of the Guess universe, at least its elite were. Is it changing? I was having sushi the other day with a young student. He nonchalantly grabbed the last piece.
— What? he asked, seeing me rather indignant
— Shouldn’t you ask before taking the last piece?
— You wanted it?