The Benefit of the Doubt
Reading those posts left me thinking about an incident many years ago, when I was getting my hair cut at a beauty salon. The stylist was making the usual chit-chat and then, all of a sudden, asked me "Are you on medication?"
I was completely taken by surprise and just said "no" because I couldn't imagine where that question had come from. I hadn't been talking about any health-related topics at all. After I left the salon, it occurred to me that she might have been referring to psych meds—that she might have thought something I said was weird. As far as I knew, though, I hadn't said anything out of the ordinary. It was puzzling and annoying, and I decided to start having my hair cut somewhere else, so as to avoid any more personal questions from her.
Years later, I thought about it again and realized that in all likelihood, she was referring to the sound of my voice, rather than the content of the conversation. She probably thought that my voice didn't sound "normal," and maybe her question was a roundabout way of asking what was wrong with me. I wished that I could've thought up a snappy comeback or two in real time, or that I had pointedly asked her to explain what she meant by asking such an intrusive question.
That conversation percolated back up into my consciousness again yesterday, and a few other, more benign, possibilities came to mind. Maybe the stylist had a friend or family member who took some sort of medication that affected their speech. Or she might have had other customers who frequently talked about their health issues in great detail. (You know what I mean if you've ever had the misfortune of being in a beauty salon while several women of a certain age are having a lively discussion of their change-of-life woes.)
Now I'm thinking that perhaps a simple "no" was the best answer to give, after all. Considering how much obvious hate and prejudice can be found in the world, it's probably best not to waste time and mental energy stewing about the ambiguous stuff.