Opinions You Didn’t Need by People You Don’t Know
I went to the opticians the other day, for a routine check up. The first one I’ve had since I had the baby.
I was really hoping that I wouldn’t have to see the man I’ve seen before. He once told me that my breath stank of garlic. I really didn’t like him.
Anyway, it was him. No mention of my garlic breath today. No, when I mentioned I’d had a baby and had gone back to work, he suddenly shouted:
“BUT WHERE’S YOUR BABY?!”
I looked at him, perplexed.
“She’s…er…..with her Grandma, actually…..”
“NO! BUT WHERE’S YOUR BABY? WHY ARE YOU AT WORK YOU SHOULD BE AT HOME!”
I really didn’t know how to respond to this. I am afraid to say I mumbled, and blushed and tried ignore him as he looked into my pupils.
Afterwards, I felt rather angry about this statement. Who is he, Mr Optician Man, to tell me whether or not I should be working. Why, in fact, should he have an opinion at all?
He doesn’t know me or my situation. I’d love to be at home, but no-one will pay me a wage to be at home with my baby. I earn the most money, so I have to work. Not only that, I sort of need and want to work. I have a career and whilst at times I feel like I want to give it up, I do love it really.
It made me think, how do people feel they are qualified, and entitled, to talk to you in this way? Why did he think it was acceptable to say that to me? I knew he was an arse, as once he did tell me I had garlic breath. I could not tell anyone something so personal as this, or outright rude. I don’t think I could even say it if I knew them.
I am quite a shy, quiet person (don’t laugh, seriously I am), especially when I am alone, and not with anyone I know. I clam up, I find it hard to talk. Just going to Opticians takes a lot of effort for me, as I have to go alone, and face it all on my own. I hate being asked ‘is that brighter, or is that brighter? Which line can you read? Is the red or green stronger?” – (I never know, and I just guess. Probably why I always have issues). To go there, worked up as it was, and then be faced with this reaction, well it pissed me off, to be frank.
Should I speak up more? Should I say what I think? Is this how people get on in life, by saying what you shouldn’t? I am annoyed that I didn’t have anything witty to retort. I should try and think of a few up my sleeve, for any moments such as this.
Is it to make them feel bigger, better than you? Is it to make you feel like a silly little woman, who should be at home with her baby rather than work? Is it to make them feel superior in some way?
I was at a disadvantage, as my lenses were too strong (one day I may get the answers right) and I left, squinting into the distance, waiting for my new lenses to appear by the end of the week. Now I have to go back again and collect them. Maybe I should say something about his breath, or his face or something as I leave.
Has this happened to you? What do you say to people like this?