When I was still working at the hospital, four months and a lifetime ago I had a lunchtime conversation with a lesbian friend of mine expressing frustration at a conversation she had recently had with someone from another agency. That someone also knew here wife, who shares her last name, and asked how the two of them were related. "She's my wife." "Oh, I know, I heard that, but I wondered how the two of you are related, since you have the same name." This apparently went back-and-forth like a vaudeville routine for a bit, Who's On First? My exasperated friend said to me "It's not like it's 1950! She's my wife!" I offered that she was unlikely to be disapproving (I knew the woman in question - quite liberal) and was likely just oblivious, and that only temporarily. When her error occurred to her she was likely to be mortified.
She was not fully mollified by this, which surprised me, as she is a pretty easygoing person. As I have had moments of serious obliviousness myself I thought the sin a small one, and my friebnd being unusually harsh.
Since that time I have reconsidered, thinking that she might be right. Obliviousness is not always innocent. I say this because I remember instances when it was not innocent in me, when the inattentiveness was part of an uncaring attitude, a mild declaration that the other person was just not important enough for me to think hard about it. My friend should have been more generous and regarded it as a simple mistake, sure. But not knowing the whole story, including previous interactions she had had with this person - or with a hundred other oblivious persons - I think I can see my way to understanding the irritation.
Obliviousness can be contempt, or a disguise. Once I saw that, I thought of immediate examples of people treating me that way, and not liking it. This means there are probably folks out there I have hurt in this way that I have long forgotten. I think I will bring that up in morning prayers tomorrow.