"What do you do for a living?"
That question. A generic pleasantry used to engage in surface chit chat for conversations with new people. Sometimes I go to parties with dread knowing this question will be asked. I don't even know why I have dread about it. I have an impressive answer:
"I'm a writer. I write books, a blog and advertising."
They respond in one of three ways:
1) "Advertising? Like in MadMen?
2) A blog? What's it about?
3) Books? What kind of books?"
Then I launch into a conversation about whichever of the three options intrigues them most.
1) Yes, like in MadMen. I'm like Peggy Olson.
2) Yes, a blog. I'm a blogging superstar. It's amazing. It's a new and exciting art form.
3) I write self help books.
I've gone through this schpiel a hundred times. It's like watching reruns of the Me Show.
This may sound self-centered of me. I would agree. But yesterday I was at a barbecue with people I didn't know and the question came up. I responded in my usual manner. It helps me from staring at the clock and locking myself in the bathroom until it's time to leave.
Turns out the woman I was speaking with was going through a divorce so my book, The Breakup Repair Kit intrigued her.
Then, through what I can only describe as the magic of angels, the other party-goers veered off on their own and we found ourselves alone so she could reveal to me the progress of her process. I sat there, nodding and practicing my listening skills. It was a beautiful, touching and (I believe) a healing conversation.
After I left, I pondered once again the question, "What do you do for a living?" So often I see it as a vague conversation starter, used to get through the moments in conversation with people we don't know. But in this case, it was well served.
Now, if they choose option 2, I hand them my blog card. I actually do have them.
If they choose 1, the advertising option, we inevitably talk about this pretty amazing scene from this weeks episode of MadMen:
Sorry about the advertising. Geesh. Friggin' advertising.
Now I ponder other people's schpiels about what they do for a living. So dear reader, what do you do for a living?