I am fed up of being patronised and (among the gazillion ideas teeming in my head for blogs) I have been mulling over this for (almost) the past weekend. I have decided the patronising types are the most stupid ones – stupid psychologically. What's worse is that half of them feel quite sanctmonious and are (mostly) not even aware of being so. So I've decided to jot down a few situations that are annoying and if you would like to add to this list – feel free.
- Just because I come from a different country or speak with an accent does not mean I'm completely unaware of what goes on in the world! Let me elaborate. I was in the middle of a dinner party and the conversation veered towards Guy Faulkes (did I spell that correctly?). The Brit next to me turned and proceeded to explain to me not just who Guy Faulkes was but also the whole ritual of burning effigies et al. I just looked at him and had to inform him that while I grew up in India, I had heard of Guy Faulkes because one read, listened to the radio or watched TV. Going the other way, my very un-English friend met with the same treatment by an Indian friend trying to explain Diwali. Here's my theory folks – don't assume that just because someone is not from your neck of the woods doesn't mean they don't know about stuff from that area. If they don't know, they'll tell you. But if they're not jumping up and down, waving their arms doesn't mean they don't understand what you are talking about.
- Then there are the "experts" – they just treat you as an imbecile especially if you are a woman. They just treat you like... urm an idiot. Like mechanics. Now why is it we cannot have appointments and consultations with them like we do a doctor. I tried to save time and explain to my garage the very minor problems I was having and asked what could possibly be the problem. He listened to me and asked me to bring my car and leave it with him for a day. I asked him why and his answer was – we need to find out what's really wrong. Huh? I just told you what the problem was. Just because I am a woman doesn't mean that I can't recognise symptoms and I just explained to you what these were. Unfortunately when it comes to garages, I don't have much choice. So I'll calm down and hope I get someone else at that garage.
- Then there are the younger people that think that us 'old' folks don't understand and vice versa. If this helps to build a few bridges between generations – just send me a check or donate to my favourite charity. This one is more serious and hits a little closer to home. A friend just had a stroke. She is my age, extremely independent, very stubborn. She has been her mistress all her adult life and single-handedly brought up her son without any help from anyone. Now her son (and everyone else) is dictating to her what and how and who she should be. Even though its in her very best interests, my friend suddenly feels alone and helpless. Folks, she's ill – not brain dead. For someone as stubborn as her, I would just let her attempt to prove that she can take control and when she realises that she does need to relinquish some control, she might be easier to take care of. So my point is (and this is not a hard and fast rule of course) that when older folks get ill, leave them a little independence and dignity. They may be silly but they have survived most of their adult lives quite successfully. If they claim they have control and feel they know better, let them prove to you they are (in control and know better). Chances are they'll realise they need help or will prove they are in control and know better.
Dignity and respect folks. That's all I'm asking for.
(Note to self – don't be such a patronising cow, Mita)