Yesterday while at the huge teachers table at the back of the staffroom, I found myself seated beside a group of science teachers who were going through some exam papers to standardize the answers. Standard procedure.
And also science, so after about one quarter of a second I zoned out.
There I sat merrily
Facebooking marking,when my attention was snatched and planted back in other people’s conversations with just a single word: “Diabetes”.
Now this being a serious school with serious questions on their serious tests (not this) I knew it was possible I was about to have some knowledge dropped on me so I tuned in, leaning ever so slightly towards the group. It started out well and I nodded along to the facts they discussed, and was about to zone out again and return to my own business when all hell broke loose, tumbling out of the lunchtime conversation that went thusly:
What time is it?
I knew I was feeling hungry.
You’re always hungry, with that green juice diet.
Yes, well at least I won’t be sitting here giving myself diabetes like the rest of you.
Well. Slap me with a donut hole and call me Eustace. Just when we were all getting along so well.
My first instinct was to be all oh no you di’nt!
Because really, was that actually worth a words-off? No, not really.
She wasn’t exactly starting World War D. It was a random, throwaway comment that I find I myself am guilty about making about things that aren’t top of my own mind, or super real to my own world.
Because we’re people. And every now and then, we suck.
We all need to just take a breath and let things go some more. Not everything is an advocacy case. People can say and do dumb things. We are going to exhaust ourselves if we don’t slow down on the righteous riots.
It’s true that I have found myself talking more and more about diabetes, but I’m not sure that I ‘d call myself an ‘advocate’. And I’m DEFINITELY sure that I’m not going to be the context police patrolling everyone’s conversations to make sure they have the rights and the reasons to drop the “D bomb”.
You cannot go through life without offending or being offended.
You just have to take a minute to figure out when to apologize for accidental offense, and when to let it stand because you meant what you said and finally, when to drop the hammer on someone who’s actually gone too far.
In the meantime, hang on dear ones.
Life is full of political potholes and potlucks. Choose your moments well.
In the meantime hold your tongue, hold your fire, hold your corners.
And have a cookie. For courage.