|Doesn't this look lovely!?!|
Once I got inside, he asked, "You can't afford gas?"
"It's not that I can't afford it," I told him, "It's that I can better afford the calories and don't want to pay for gas."
Likewise, I kind of got into it with a library patron one day when he asked for help downloading a book to his smartphone. I referred him to my older co-worker for help, because she actually has a smart phone and downloads books all the time (in return, I field the patron questions about eReaders--it's a nice balance). This patron looked at me and asked, skeptically, "You don't have a smart phone?"
"I can't afford one." I told him. This has been my go-to explanation for years, and I've never had issue with it before.
"But they're only like $50 a month!" he told me, "You'd pay that much for a regular, non-smart phone."
I didn't want to debate with him about the cost of the actual phone, data plan, etc., but it really got me wondering: why do people find the need to try to spend your money for you? I'm sure he was just trying to be helpful, and I'm sure if I hunted around I could find a decent deal on a smart phone, but I genuinely do not want one. I should have just said that instead.
I'm sure I'm guilty of this as well. I worked with a few cellphone holdouts back in the early 2000s, and even though I can't remember specifically, I'm sure I said to at least one of them "you should get a cell phone." Is this a distinctly American trait, or does this happen everywhere?
In the small town where I grew up, almost any time you saw someone out walking, you offered him or her a ride. I remember one night, a friend of mine just wanted to go for a walk, and she got stopped several times by people offering her rides and who seemed confused when she said "I just want to go for a walk."
It's kind of a Catch-22 because people do these things to be nice (kind of), but it's also a bit condescending. I guess it's similar to people telling you that you have to watch a certain movie, or you must like the Beatles Am I overthinking things? Has anyone else encountered this?