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There’s a few people that I interact with on a regular basis who say “be careful” to me as almost a rule. I don’t exactly understand why, as the preceding conversation did not revolve in discussion of anything even remotely reckless.

It’s not exactly a phrase you can return with a “you too,” like one would with a phrase like “Have a good day” or “Merry Christmas.” I’m left confused as to why the person felt the need to remind me, as if they didn’t really know me and how ridiculously careful I actually am in real life.

In the end, it feels more like condescension and bizarre adult posturing, as though they were talking to a kid. Frankly, considering I’m well into my 30’s, and have all the respectable adulthood accouterments, it’s rather insulting. Honestly, half the time, I just want to be like, “No! I was planning on being needlessly reckless today!”

I’ve confronted one person about this type of behavior, something which was probably as socially reckless as you can get, because then they actually ended up disclosing, inadvertently, that they think of me like one of their children and therefore need warning. Nothing is more insulting to me than to imply I’m a child, let alone a reckless one that somehow needs their guidance. And, considering what assholes that particular person’s kids are, it’s really rude to lump me in with them.

Unfortunately, old hens are impossible to reason with, and making a further issue out of their persistent need to remind me to be careful, just makes me seem more child-like. So instead, I sit, quietly brooding every time I hear the phrase and try not to flip out on the person who’s well-meaning intention and frankly, probable lack of anything more meaningful to say, is tossed yet again my way.

I am really considering saying something like, “Hey, don’t piss yourself, you incontinent old fart!” or “Oh, watch you don’t fall and break a hip!” or “Be sure to monitor your cholesterol so you don’t die!” to really put the age disparity to light and see how they feel about it.