Monday, June 20, 2022

Congenital Evangelists for Everything

I was speaking with an acquaintance about going to medical appointments and needing to wear masks and predicting that because of the reduction of many contagious diseases because of them, we would likely always be wearing masks at the doctor's henceforth, shrugging "We probably should have started doing this twenty years ago." We brought our children to appointments and noticed even then that the waiting room, with its sick and snuffly kids, many running around touching everything, was the most infectious place we could bring them. The acquaintance laughed and said "Right! And now we call that covid!" This really irritated me, because it implies that we did not lose a million Americans to that disease and it was all just part of regular life as it always had been. (Bsking has an updated post on excess mortality by state, BTW.  I was surprised at how good NH is looking in the final numbers, frankly.)

But it irritated me more because she knows this is a national point of contention now yet feels obliged to put her oar in for no purpose in an everyday conversation. People who do this tend to do it on many subjects, often around a central theme - religious, health, political, organic farming.  Everything they believe they evangelise.

I tend to be more anti-opinionated...well, that's not quite the right word, I'm plenty opinionated. But I lead with things that might be pleasant, might be shared, instructive, or entertaining. I value conversation in and of itself.  Because of this, I will put up with a fair bit of introduced evangelism.  But eventually, I push back, especially if there are others present who I think might be vulnerable to social pressure.  Sometimes I will insert a small contradiction or alternative view solely to create space for others who might be present but hesitant. 

When I go to an opinion-based site, or write for one I expect there to be opinions, and people may hammer their favorites all they like there. Though I suppose even there there are limits, of people who have a fixed idea that bleeds over into every topic. Ultimately that has to be brought up short as well. Yet interesting that there are folks who have not just a few opinions they can't drop for a moment to talk about other things, but a lecturing style on every topic.


james said...

Which end of the banana are you supposed to open? Big-endian or little-endian?

Jonathan said...

Yes. It's bad enough re Covid. It's worse re Trump, where people often want to share not enthusiasm but hatred.

Texan99 said...

I've felt pretty heavily lectured to on the subject of masks for a couple of years now. I tune it out now and change the subject as firmly and as often as I need to. At this point there cannot possibly be anyone left who is simply lacking information, so there's no call whatever for anyone to continue to instruct anyone--nor do I feel the need to absorption any more instruction just to assuage the feelings of someone who's still feeling anxious. It's high time we all learned to manage our own anxiety by addressing our own behavior, taking into account that we don't enjoy a nationwide consensus about what's reasonably safe. If the anxiety is uncontrollable, isolation is still an option. That it's often a costly one is simply more reason to leave the decision up to each.