When Someone Doesn’t Know What They’re Talking About

I sat there listening to someone confidently explain something completely wrong.

I don’t know a lot about a lot, but I just happened to know enough about this subject to know that this surface level pop take was not just off, but absolutely backwards; the opposite of the actual meaning.

It didn’t make me mad, it just made me tired.

I didn’t know this person well, and didn’t have much to lose or gain by them being correct or not. Should I say something? Should I argue in front of others? Or maybe later, privately share the info they are unaware of?

The thought of doing that made me more tired.

So I just let it pass.

This happens more often as I get older. Usually, it’s something trivial said by a younger person, about a date or pop-culture reference or the meaning of a word. The kind of thing you are prone to get wrong unless you lived through it. I rarely say anything, because the energy required to be “um, ackshually” guy exceeds the value of the correction.

But it also slowly alienates me from the world. My wife and I laugh about these little things privately. Not in a condescending way ( or at least we try not to condescend), but a sign of the absurdity of life and aging.

As I silently observe people confidently proclaiming incorrect information, a terrifying realization dawns. How often was I on the other end while some older person sat silently, letting me prattle on like a fool about things I didn’t know?

Then it hits harder. That can’t be something I did once upon a time. It must be something I’m still doing. No matter how much older and wiser I feel, there is someone else compared to whom I am a fool on just about every matter.

Whenever I open my mouth or hit my keyboard, I am spouting nonsense in someone else’s mind and they’re just too tired to let me know.

That’s a good reminder.