Had a random conversation with someone on my street about animals. She was walking her dog and the dog stopped as I approached. This is the awkward part when the owner usually looks at you and you either say something, or just walk on by if you don’t want to engage.
So the owner did look up, and we said our hellos. The dog came up to me and sniffed me, jumped on my legs, as I petted it, and we got into a conversation about animals. The dog was a pup, and I asked if he would cry at night for his mom. The owner, a young woman, said sometimes. The conversation then dabbled into how animals might end up bored at home if the owners aren’t around and also how animals have no way of communicating their true feelings.
At this point, I mentioned, “In our language, they say “bezaban”, which means those (animals) that cannot speak. And I said how if we really knew what animal wanted, we would treat them better.
She was quiet for a few seconds and then said, “Well that’s a strange conversation to have with your neighbour for the first time.”
I said: “Not so strange.” We then said our goodbyes and parted ways.
AFTER, I kicked myself for two things. ONE, when I said, in our language, I realize it didn’t feel totally right. I should have just said: In Urdu…. There’s nothing to hide, and not that I’m hiding anything at all, but it isn’t anything foreign. Just say it like it is: In Urdu. If she doesn’t get it, she can ask. It’s not like French people here say, “Well in my language…” They just say, in French….
TWO, you don’t have to react just because something you said isn’t to the liking of someone else. If she said it was strange, I don’t think mentioning that animals can’t speak and can’t communicate their true feelings is strange. It wasn’t meant to demean her. It was just the subject we were on. I mean, she did ask if I felt like that towards her dog, and I replied, in the negative. I should have replied to the “strange” comment by saying: Perspectives aren’t so strange.
Be ready. Next time.