Monday, May 26, 2008

Dumb things that people always say

A former vegan went to dinner with a group of people and witnessed a non-vegetarian asking a vegetarian questions about her reasons for being a vegetarian. Later he commented to me, "That's one of the things I don't miss about being a vegetarian -- the interrogation."

That got us talking about the other things people always say that we wouldn't miss.

People who know of my chronic fatigue say things along the lines of "If you lived the lifestyle I live, you would be as healthy as me." They don't say lifestyle. They each have a specific thing, like if you ate more of a particular type of food or did more of a certain activity. There are a lot of people who live less healthy lifestyles than I who are living just fine, so they don't get picked on, but because my health is lacking, everyone is out to correct my lifestyle.

Another thing that people always say is that complete strangers come up to me and ask me whether or not my hair is my natural color. I can't really fathom why people think it's appropriate to go up to a complete stranger and say that.

Similarly, it's normally considered inappropriate to go up to a complete stranger and touch them, so why do people go up to pregnant women and touch their bellies?

Another response that I get to my hair color is people telling my things like, "My uncle used to have red hair, but it's white now." Why would I care whether complete strangers have red hair in their family tree?

Similarly, when people learn that what my brother does for a living is play piano and organ, they say things to him like, "My nephew used to play cello."

If you live in California, and you tell people that you are from Connecticut, they might say, "I know someone in New Jersey."

I think if you are in the U.S. and you tell people you are from Brazil, you probably get responses like, "My daughter visited Nicaragua once."

I understand that people are just trying to make a connection. It's good of them to take the risk to reach out for a connection, even though they are on shaky ground. I don't really mind if people tell me about the hair color of their relatives, or even if they ask me if I dye my hair (as long as the answer is no), but I don't really like the way some people give advice. I don't necessarily mind if people who hear my problems engage with me as a partner in brainstorming, but I don't like the attitude, "Your problem would be solved if only you did what I do."

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