a woman who started a conversation with me while we were waiting for the same bus abruptly began conspiracizing to me that COVID was a manufactured disease and Satanic and I gently, but firmly pushed back and pointed out that a major reason it spread so fast in the U.S. (her motivating factor for it being unnatural/a foreign plot) was that we in the U.S. didn't habitually wear face masks when sick prior to COVID, whereas other cultures do.

I also said that we live in a connected world where diseases spread fast, that nobody needs to have manufactured a virus — our government can just intentionally neglect natural ones, and the thing that would make COVID go away is paying people to stay home for six months, but didn't quite have time in the bus ride to point out that countries which prioritize public health don't have our ongoing problem with COVID

and by the end she said "maybe you're right, that makes sense"

maybe she was just agreeing to be agreeable, but I did my best

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orthogonally, I worry a little bit that whatever about my ~energy~ tells people that I will listen nonjudgmentally when they talk about their substance abuse history and legal problems might be impacting my ability to appear professional in job interviews

like they're right, I will listen nonjudgmentally to their life story and all its criminalized and stigmatized twists. but how do they know, and how do I prevent prospective employers from also knowing?

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