The other day, PerfectlyRandom shared with us her dislike of the overshare. In contrast, I don’t actually have a problem with the odd overshare of personal information. In fact I rather enjoy it. I have spent many an fascinating moment in the bathroom of the pub whilst some complete stranger pours her heart out to me. What can I say? I must just have one of those faces you can trust. But I actually enjoy this small piece of human interaction, and knowing that showing a little compassion to this person when they needed it helped brighten their day a little.
What I’m not down with is people who choose to overshare in a different way… commenting on my life from a distance. Just in case you’re all wondering, I’m not a celebrity masquerading in disguise. So I’m not talking about the gossip columns. I’m simply talking about my everyday life that I live here in Paris.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold back with a little comment to a stranger every now and again IF THEY IMPACT MY WORLD. For example, someone who’s pushing onto a train as I’m trying to get off. There is a strong possibility that I’m going to give them a dirty look or remind them that the system will work more efficiently if they just wait until I have disembarked. Likewise, a pedestrian who is casually sauntering along in the bike lane whilst I am hurtling towards them ringing my bell. When (if) they eventually move, I may call their attention to the fact that this part of the road is reserved for cyclists.
So, as much as I try to be thoughtful, if ever I do something thoughtless that negatively impacts someone else, I have no issue if that person points it out to me. Preferably in a nice way. What I do object to, however, are comments that are forthcoming from someone whose world I have not touched in any way. The unaffected bystander who believes that somehow their opinion is to be valued.
For example. This weekend I was riding my bike. Stopped at a red light. Traffic starts to move. The car in front of me advances for a couple of seconds then stops suddenly for no apparent reason (ie nothing in front of him, light still green). I had to brake suddenly as his abrupt standstill was unanticipated. But I was travelling slowly and had left sufficient distance. No dramas. For me, anyway. But a man standing on the footpath had difference ideas, telling me to “faites attention” (“pay attention”) not as a warning, but as an admonishment. Really???
I’ve never noticed this phenomenon elsewhere in the world, but in Paris it’s rife. Often whilst I’m cycling. I want to cross a lane so turn my head to check quickly for traffic. A guy on the side of the road yells out to tell me I should be looking ahead of me. Um… so wouldn’t changing lane be kind of dangerous if I only look ahead? Should I just randomly change lane whenever I please, using prayer as my best prevention from being knocked off? And, most importantly, who are you to be telling me what to do, anyway???
I guess it’s probably just one in a seemingly never-ending list of cultural differences, but I really don’t appreciate someone who is not implicated in a particular situation and is not impacted at all by my actions not only casting his or her judgment, but offering a verbal reproach. It’s my life, not yours peeps. You get on with yours and let me get on with mine.