Day 147: Change someone’s mind today.Posted: May 27, 2011
I’m standing in line at a Starbucks, one I don’t normally frequent. The dude in front of me is talking on his cellphone, only a little loudly and obnoxiously. I’m listening, because it’s difficult not to, but I’m not paying attention — not until he said that Janeway was a better captain than Picard.
I objected, forcefully and profanely. Picard is clearly superior, in every way, I said. He thought for a moment, and then agreed — no discussion necessary, because I’m just that convincing.
…yeah, that didn’t happen. Nobody thinks Janeway was a better captain.
What really happened was this: the dude was complaining about some other dude not calling him back — or having to call some dude back himself? — it was hard to tell, because ever other word was “shit.”
Normally this wouldn’t bother me; I use ‘harsh language’ pretty frequently. In this instance, though, it was bothersome, because there were a fair amount of young, impressionable children around. I tapped the dude on the shoulder; he looked at me; I said to him — quietly, so the kids wouldn’t hear — “watch your fucking language.”
He told me to fuck off.
People don’t want their minds changed. They want to think what they’ve always thought — or, more accurately, cling to the same unfounded assumptions and blind prejudices that they were inculcated with at a young age. I have enough trouble changing my students’ minds, and they’re there — ostensibly, anyway — to have their minds changed. Everyone I know already agrees with me about everything. Strangers are a lost cause.
Not a single mind was changed today.