This is not what you may think. He asks, "Is this my dinner?" After I put it down in front of him, or at his regular place. I used to answer with a simple "yes". The problem is he will ask more questions until I lose my patience. So once I say yes, he asks another question, like, "can I go ahead and eat this?" If I answer that, he asks another question, like "right now?" If I answer that, he says, "or should I save it for later?" I finally tell him to do whatever he wants, and I walk away frustrated and aggravated.
Another example: One day he had a catalog in his hand, and asked me if I wanted it. I said yes. He started to hand it to me, and I asked him to just set it down on the table. He asked me, "right here?" I said that was fine. He then proceeded to lower the catalog about a few inches at a time above the surface of the table. At each lowering of several inches, he asked, "right here" and I said "yes" each time. But he never set it down. He only lowered it a bit and held it above the table, waiting for each "yes" response. Finally, as he held it several inches above the table, I stopped responding. I just ignored further questions, and only then did he did set the catalog on the table.
This type of thing has begun happening daily. The only way I have been able to stop the one or two or three normal questions turn into 7 or 8 more highly improbable questions is to answer only the first few questions, and when the questioning gets ridiculous, (as with the catalog being lowered 3 inches at a time but never being put down on the table, all the while asking "right here?" at each lowering) is to simply ignore the improbable questions. After 30 seconds my father takes the action (puts the catalog down, lets the dogs out, throws the rag down the laundry chute, etc)
Talking to him about this issue has not helped, and explaining to him hasn't helped. The only thing that works for me when he does this is for me to fall silent and sometimes walk away. Only then does he respond by taking the action (eating dinner, setting the catalog down, letting the dogs out).
Initially, I thought this was purely for attention-getting, yet my dad has a full life of group workouts at the YMCA 3 times a week, church on Sundays, and regular contact by phone with his kids (all 6) and grandkids, and talking with the neighbors. He doesn't do this with any of my siblings but me, but I do live with him. I realize that is why he is different with me.
I cannot stand these "improbable" questions which multiply and become ridiculous to the point of nonsense. I have only been able to get away from them by ignoring them or by finally telling him to do whatever he wants. It stops the silly questions, but I feel guilty responding this way as I wouldn't respond to anyone else like this.
Any insight, ideas or suggestions would help. Thanks so much.