It so happened that I was meeting this long lost friend, Mr. Paypal, for dinner. Conversation flowed smoothly (though uninterestingly) in between chomping food. Once we were done, the waiter promptly produced the check (or bill, whatever you say). Impulsively, I reached into my purse for my credit card. To which my friend rather said in a pitch a few degrees louder,
“Don’t even think of paying. Aren’t you unemployed? You need to save".
The sudden outburst definitely had a few desi heads turn in our direction, and me shifting rather uncomfortably. My initial reaction was to protest, not just at the act of paying for my meal, but also at the unfairness that Mr. Paypal has to scream out something so personal so loudly at a public dinner place so very crowded (and the crowd being desi made it worse). I was still able to pay for my meal, I wanted to protest. I did not.
I am sure my concerned friend didn’t mean to insult me or hurt my feelings. But it is funny how sometimes we vocalize things we would rather say in the mind. Aren’t we taught to not call a poor person poor, or a blind person blind? It is considered rude and insensitive, making fun of people’s miseries. On one hand, I was hurt and mildly offended at the (unintended) social faux pas. On the other hand, I agreed that Mr. Paypal was probably showing concern and was vocalizing something that was so obvious- that I should not be spending when I am not earning. It was an uncomfortable, yet a funny situation for sure. Surely he could have been more polished in his approach. Surely he could have kept his voice low. Or surely he could have paid for me and told me in addition that it was a pleasure to pay for my meals (though this is far from the truth).
It’s interesting how sometimes we blurt out the truth without malice, not realizing it could be a major faux pas. Thanks Mr. Paypal for the meal anyway. I know you didn’t mean anything bad.