Over the years there have been a number of times when decisions of mine I deemed personal and of no interest to others would garner very passionate responses. I first noticed it when I was vegetarian (I'm not really, anymore, though I still avoid eating mammals). Okay this one didn't surprise me too much, I know it's a controversial issue bringing out strong feelings from lots of folks, but I wasn't interested in other people's decisions, I was just examining my own. I rarely volunteered this information, it never came up because I was preaching or judging the choices of others... but people often reacted like I was. They'd launch into diatribes about how it wasn't healthy or safe, or how it seemed like a good idea but they could never do it because they loved meat too much, or it sounded way too extreme, and why is killing a plant less cruel than killing an animal anyway (this despite the fact that I never claimed animal cruelty was the reason for my vegetarianism) and besides, who the hell was I to judge their lives? Often they'd turn into Prosecuting Attorneys, exerting a huge amount of effort trying to show how my choices were inconsistent ("well, do you wear leather? Do you eat eggs? Cheese?"), I guess so they could prove that I was a hypocrite. I was never sure what that was supposed to accomplish. You've established a personal (and highly rigid) definition of what true vegetarianism is, then shown how I fail to live up to it, so that means I have to go back to eating meat? Why do you even give a shit? I quickly learned that engaging in the discussion at all was rarely a good idea, because that would only increase the sense that I was looking down on them.
The best example of this was when I was in my local grocery store in Seattle. I was buying butter, something else, and tofu pups. I didn't really know the cashier all that well, but we had kind of a chatty relationship. He looked at the tofu pups, had never seen them before, then launched into the defensive dance, making sure that I knew that butter came from cows, so how could I be buying tofu anything if I was simultaneously buying butter. Dude, I don't care if you eat beef by the truckload, just don't invite me to dinner.
Like I said, this reaction wasn't all that surprising to me. What did surprise me (at first) is how strongly people reacted when I said I don't really like ice cream. I can't tell you how many people got insulted by this. I was deemed downright un-American more than once. I know the show Friends used this to comedic effect at one point, but the thing is, those reactions of shock and horror were exactly like the ones I regularly get. Again, I don't care if other people eat ice cream until their eyes bug out, I'm just not likely to pull out a spoon.
So why am I bringing all this up now? Because I am now typing this entry via my brand new cable modem. Yes, I've been using dial-up all this time, and occasionally, when I've mentioned that, people have looked at me like I've just pissed on their shoes. Okay, pity I could understand, derision even more so, but barely contained disgust? At times I thought I was going to be asked to leave the premises. So... yes, I am now cable-ized. Whoopty-do. Sure, things have downloaded faster, I see that, I just didn't have too many objections to how quickly they downloaded before. Generally "because it's faster" isn't a good enough reason for me to do anything, and it's precisely this attitude that causes people to look at me with absolute incomprehension. Or disgust, like I said. You know who you are. So, my technologically more advanced (*cough -addicted*) friends, you no longer need to shun me. One more step, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century for me.
I am NOT going to spend all day watching YouTube.