Bloganuary Day 9: What do people incorrectly assume about you?

They think I can’t hear them, talking about me in what passes for a supermarket. This town, which is barely more than a bump on the map, has only one place to get the basic items to live on and anyone regarded as different provides endless fodder for speculation for the locals.

At first, I thought I was being paranoid, or overly self-conscious, but each time I come in I can feel a shift in the atmosphere. If I pass one of them in an aisle, they either look at me with a sidelong glance or stare at some spot beyond me. Anything to avoid making eye contact. But at the same time, they track my movements, waiting for a word or gesture to mark me out as strange.

It might be because I am not from here, and they are all so similar, with their narrow minds and lives. Behaviour that varies from their own is treated with suspicion.

It would be easy enough to tell them the truth, to cut through the layers of conjecture and gossip, but this would not end it. They would simply move onto some other person, or find something else unusual about me. It is as though by gathering to pick on any difference, be it real or perceived, they find a kind of unity which is otherwise missing from their lives.

And so, I say nothing, choosing not to let their petty behaviour and assumptions about anyone with a different experience than theirs affect the way that I live my life.

I’m participating in this blogging challenge for the month of January, which supports starting the year on the “write” track. You can find out more about the challenge, join in and read other posts here.

Photo: sign outside of library at Mona Vale

5 thoughts on “Bloganuary Day 9: What do people incorrectly assume about you?

  1. Your style appeals to me. While I’ve only seen this post of yours, I believe, and maybe one other, I like how you handled the WordPress writing prompt here.

    Are you being truthful about your circumstances? I live in a smaller city where a lot of senior citizens reside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, and thank you for taking the time to read this post and provide feedback.

      Whilst this was a work of fiction, I was thinking about an outsider’s experience in a small town, and how it can be all too easy to the focus of unnecessary attention simply by being different or ‘not from here’. This resistance to change can be shown in a myriad of ways, and not necessarily the negative experience portrayed in this piece.

      I hope your experience is a more positive one!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I fear that identity politics has made things worse for everyone. These days people make all kinds of assumptions based on what they think is your ‘privilege’. Sometimes it’s overt and personal, and sometimes we just get lumped in together with everyone else who has that same ‘privilege’, tarred with a brush that we don’t deserve.
    But yes, country towns can be very difficult in this way, and (as I’ve experienced it myself) I always think about this aspect of small town life when I read complaints about depopulation and young people leaving and doctors etc. not wanting to work in these places.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa, thank you for reading and providing a great overview of ‘privilege’ and country town experiences.
      This fictional example is exaggerated, as many country towns embrace change as a necessary way to not only survive, but thrive. By default we tend to rely on assumptions, without necessarily considering their impact on others. Thank you for your insights.

      Liked by 1 person

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