Here is one of the oddest things I have learned over the course of my life: people don’t believe you when you say you don’t care.
Of course, the main reason for that is that so many of them don’t mean it when they say it.
“I don’t care” is something many people say when they are feeling petulant and sulky, or hostile and rebellious, or when they have just had their feelings hurt and are longing to return the favor. It is often used as a substitute for “leave me alone” or “I’m hiding.”
Genuine indifference is generally frowned upon by society. So, if you happen to be one of those rare individuals who actually mean it when you say you don’t care, people either don’t believe you or they think you’re mad about something, which is the same as not believing you but in a more specified way.
See, the thing is, you’re not supposed to not care. You’re a human being, a social animal. You ought to care. You are hard-wired to care. Something is wrong with you if you don’t care. You. Must. Care.
Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: a lot of the time, I really don’t.
I don’t care who you sleep with or what gender they are. I don’t care if you abort that fetus. I don’t care if you believe in God and I don’t care if you don’t believe in God, either. I don’t care if you do the same things I do and I don’t care if you don’t do the same things that I do.
Now, I’m not saying that I don’t care about anything.
I don’t care who you sleep with or what gender they are, but I do care that sexual intimacy occurs between consenting adults.
I don’t care about what reproductive choices you make but I do care that defenseless born children should not be abused or neglected.
I don’t care whether you are a theist or an atheist but I do care if you plan to shove either one of those orientations down my throat.
Can you see what I’m getting at here?
I’m not interested in things that are none of my business. I am interested in things that are likely to make my world suck.
I care about humankind but I don’t care about most people. I don’t hate them. I am simply indifferent to them.
This is something about me that has been causing people to tell me all my life that I am a terrible person. People disbelieve indifference. They are disconcerted by it. They are often offended by it and, when they take it personally (as they frequently do), they are even insulted by it. And, whether it is unfair or not, they cannot seem to bring themselves to buy the idea that indifference without misanthropy is even possible.
There is nobody in the world I hate (well … except, occasionally, my ex-husband). But the planet teems with people I’m not interested in.
And I fully expect that most of the people in the world are not interested in me, either. That’s why I don’t understand why any of those hordes of strangers out there would care who I sleep with or what reproductive choices I make or which god I may or may not worship.
It’s just who I am.