Author Topic: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . Update page 3, #42"  (Read 14641 times)

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GratefulMaria

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"You must really think I'm stupid . . . Update page 3, #42"
« on: April 30, 2014, 06:46:34 PM »
Trying to find out if I was out of line for saying what I did. 

We have an electric cooking stove with spiral elements and drip trays underneath.  All the grease and food particles in our kitchen and the universe find their way among them, so today I bought covers like these http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Stainless-Steel-Burner-Cover-4pk/19857911 and put them on after cleaning everything.

My 83 y.o. mother, who lives with us, noticed them and said something, we passed a couple of innocuous sentences about how dirty the coils get, etc.  Then I said, "also, we're not supposed to use them on the elements when they're turned on."  A couple of more sentences, and she went on to fix her lunch while I took care of some household miscellany on the computer (it's all one open living area).  After lunch, on her way upstairs to her room, she paused and said soberly, "You must think I'm really stupid -- you really believe I'd turn on the stove with those covers on top?"  I just said something mild and noncommittal, and she went upstairs.

So my question is, did saying something the way I did (about not turning on the stove while the covers were in place) imply the person I was talking to is stupid?  Or wouldn't know better?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 02:29:28 PM by GratefulMaria »

MommyPenguin

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 06:56:14 PM »
I don't think it did, I think she just took it wrong.

You could always tell her that I did that.  :(  (I turned on the wrong burner from what I meant to turn on, and the cover was still on that burner--oops.  :( )

TootsNYC

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2014, 06:57:12 PM »
Hmmm.

Maybe tone of voice could have helped you avoid offending her (Monday Morning Quarterback!! so annoying, I know, sorry), or might have accidentally fed into it.

I can see her point, it seems so obvious.

But there are people who don't get it, and since the covers are metal and not painted, they think it's OK to heat them up, that they become part of the stove. So I do think it was OK for you to say it.

(and btw, thanks for the link--my DH wants some of of those)

Shea

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 07:00:04 PM »
I don't think it came across as if you thought she was stupid. I mean, it does seem pretty common-sense, and if you said it in, well, a kind of condescending tone (even just a bit condescending) I could understand taking offense. But if you said it just kind of off-handedly, in the course of a conversation about the new stove covers, then it seems much less condescending, the type of thing I might slightly internally roll my eyes over, but forget about quickly.


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Amara

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 07:05:00 PM »
I would appreciate your telling me because I wouldn't know.  :-[  But I can see where she might see it as too basic and therefore hurtful. If I was in your shoes I would just apologize again.

TootsNYC

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2014, 07:05:08 PM »
You know, I need a whistle or something, the way I'm MMQ-ing this. (Oh, wait, that's not the quarterback; that's the ref. Quarterbacks say "Hike!")

I suppose "we have to be sure they're not on the burner while it's hot" would be similar info but more about the "cool off/warm up" period.

But, I just think that since they're metal, it's good to have officially said it. If you assumed that she knew this, and it turned out it hadn't really occurred to her, or she'd had a brain fart, where would you be? Homeless, probably, or staying in a hotel during clean-up.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2014, 07:09:17 PM »
I can't see anything in what you said to sound like you were specifically directing it to her.  To me it sounded like someone just reading the instructions off a package about the care of an item.  Kind of a general "FYI" than anything pointed. Had you said "By the way mom, if you need to use the burners, please don't forget to remove these."

When we first moved into this house, the stove had these raised metal burners, and it's a good thing someone told me "That's the burner" cause I thought they were covers.
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Dazi

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2014, 07:11:05 PM »
Considering how many perfectly intelligent adults I've known have melted, scorched, burned out their kitchen with those things, I think you're in the clear.

My own Nana destroyed several of those covers over the years, just by forgetting to take them off or putting them on again before the coils had cooled enough. It happens.
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TootsNYC

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 07:21:36 PM »
Considering how many perfectly intelligent adults I've known have melted, scorched, burned out their kitchen with those things, I think you're in the clear.

My own Nana destroyed several of those covers over the years, just by forgetting to take them off or putting them on again before the coils had cooled enough. It happens.

Want to make a bet that your mom does the same thing as Dazi's nana? I'll put a nickel on it....  ;)

GratefulMaria

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 07:27:08 PM »
Considering how many perfectly intelligent adults I've known have melted, scorched, burned out their kitchen with those things, I think you're in the clear.

My own Nana destroyed several of those covers over the years, just by forgetting to take them off or putting them on again before the coils had cooled enough. It happens.

Want to make a bet that your mom does the same thing as Dazi's nana? I'll put a nickel on it....  ;)

If that happens, I refuse to say even word one!   :)

doodlemor

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2014, 07:34:23 PM »
That is exactly what my mother said when she got older, and I shared new product directions with her!  I think that your mom is extra sensitive about aging, and worried about losing her faculties.  My DM unfortunately was going into dementia, and doing her best to hide it from us.

I don't think that you did anything wrong by sharing the directions with her.  Since the covers are metal, there are probably people who think that they can just stay on the stove as a buffer between the element and the pans.

NyaChan

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2014, 07:58:26 PM »
I'd probably accompany that kind of info with a "the shop told me to make sure X, so I'm passing it on to you too"

I have to use similar language at work a lot when I direct people or teach them because it is really hard to tell what will be obvious to other people and they do often get offended if you instruct them on something they think is easy.

On it's face, I don't think you did anything wrong, it's just one of those misunderstandings that when you can't share the same brain :)

LEMon

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2014, 08:08:41 PM »
I would have said it because I was trying to remind myself to not do it.  (Especially since I have.)

shortstuff

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2014, 08:15:53 PM »
Trying to find out if I was out of line for saying what I did. 

We have an electric cooking stove with spiral elements and drip trays underneath.  All the grease and food particles in our kitchen and the universe find their way among them, so today I bought covers like these http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Stainless-Steel-Burner-Cover-4pk/19857911 and put them on after cleaning everything.

My 83 y.o. mother, who lives with us, noticed them and said something, we passed a couple of innocuous sentences about how dirty the coils get, etc.  Then I said, "also, we're not supposed to use them on the elements when they're turned on."  A couple of more sentences, and she went on to fix her lunch while I took care of some household miscellany on the computer (it's all one open living area).  After lunch, on her way upstairs to her room, she paused and said soberly, "You must think I'm really stupid -- you really believe I'd turn on the stove with those covers on top?"  I just said something mild and noncommittal, and she went upstairs.

So my question is, did saying something the way I did (about not turning on the stove while the covers were in place) imply the person I was talking to is stupid?  Or wouldn't know better?

I think the wording was fine, because you included yourself in it as well.  I could see her taking some offense if she felt singled out, implying she was the only one who needed directions.  But mixed in with general conversation about the use of the covers?  Seems perfectly innocuous to me. 

You could apologize for the unintended offense to keep the peace, if it would help. 

Ceallach

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Re: "You must really think I'm stupid . . . "
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2014, 08:26:35 PM »
I don't think you said anything wrong, but I think her reaction speaks volumes.   This is more about her than it is about you.   She's given you a major hint that she is possibly feeling a bit under-appreciated or useless.    It's often hard for an ageing parent to adjust to the switch in the relationship with their children, and start to feel like a child themselves as they become dependent. 

So don't beat yourself up over anything you said, it was innocuous.    But I do think you could consider whether there is anything you can do to help make your mother feel a bit better about herself and her position in your household.   It might have just been a bad moment for her, it could mean nothing, or it could be a sign of a deeper problem in your relationship, again *not* caused by you or anything you've done specifically, but by the situation and how she's feeling.  It's something I would consider in your position, and indeed that I consider whenever I get an unusual response from somebody - what is happening in their life to cause them to react that way?   
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