Tonight some guy asked me about my necklace. This happens a lot, actually. It's a lightning bolt. I get a lot of assumptions: Harry Potter, Flash, miscellaneous other fun associations people make. Often, I enjoy this. What someone else assumes tells me a lot about them and also a lot about how they see me.
Occasionally, this results in awkwardness. Like tonight... Man asks me about it, goes through the gamut nerdy guesses (which is actually kind of cute) and, since he seems determined to know, I tell him it actually has personal significance. He promptly asks me if I know someone who was hit by lightning. I say, yes, four people, actually. He says AWESOME. He is not young enough to get away with this reaction. He is at least in his thirties. Then he fumbles into the dumbest corner available. He asks if they were all okay.
Like since I'm talking about it, they must have been.
I'm a kind person (I like to think so anyways) but some people deserve to eat their feet. Mostly he deserved it for not thinking and non-thinking people annoy the bloody hell out of me. I told him the truth. I told him, no they were not all okay. One of them died.
That shut him up like nothing else.
Honestly, though, what did he expect?
Who doesn't associate being hit by lightning with freak accidents and dying, even if only as the joke of how rare it is? (I believe, statistically, only one in 7 million people will die by being struck by lightning. That may just be Canadian statistics though.)
Who thinks this is a great line of conversation ON A DANCE FLOOR? At a social swing dancing event? Sometimes I wonder why I just assume that people should know not to ask really strange stuff, like maybe somewhere in my head I believe that everyone learns social rules at some point and one of them is "You may not know something big about someone so be careful what you ask." I keep meeting people who seem to have skipped that life-lesson. I'm not saying people should not engage in deep discussion. Nothing of the sort is further from the truth. Asking about a cool piece of jewellery is also fine, but if someone says it has personal significance, maybe it will be less awkward (FOR YOU BOTH) to leave the issue be until you known them for longer than three minutes? Say, for example, three months? Or years.
I used to believe that I wore my heart on my sleeve, but lately I've become aware of how little people get right when they make assumptions upon first meeting me. I'm pretty open about things, too, which is why I keep getting thrown off by the weird assumptions people make. I hate when people assume. If someone asks me a question, I will usually answer it. I'm not afraid of curiosity, but when did it become a social norm to delve into the intensely personal immediately upon meeting someone? Have Facebook, Twitter and the like made us feel derangedly entitled to know the intimate details of another's life? I feel like that may be contributing to it, even if it's not entirely to blame.
I'm not shy, and I'm not a good liar, so when someone asks me a question, I will usually answer honestly and without issue. I do hold issue with people asking dumb questions, or pushing on subjects when a person has given a fairly blatant warning that they are wading into the Personal file. Is it fun feeling like an idiot? Do some people enjoy the nervous churning that results in those most awkward moments? Because I don't. I don't get all choked up, I won't cry, and it doesn't upset me to discuss the tricky topics, but I can tell when others wish they'd shut their mouths and kept their questions to themselves.
So maybe don't ask someone about something the next time they say it's personal. Maybe get to know them a little (like, say, asking their NAME?) and let it be a quaint little mystery about them that you earn the right to ask about. Otherwise, you may end up looking like an absolute tool.