You have just joined Black Bean Culture and here we are talking about the question, “What do you do?” I hope you say something interesting; I can’t just talk to someone for the sake of cultural relativism, I have a reputation to maintain and advance.
For a long time, I use to avoid this question like I am making sure to step over sidewalk lines so I don’t break my moms back. It is absurd why I felt such repulsion to the damn question.
“What do you do?”
You mean for like…for a living? for my life? for others? Well you see that is an interesting question because I do a lot. I mean who doesn’t right.
It feels like it’s a nervous tic. It’s like I feel the pressure to say something awesome like I am an astronaut, a programmer ….a doctor, yeah I save peoples lives fo’sho.
I noticed the pressure is greater if you’re already having a charming or intellectual conversation. Then you get hit with the question. It is like a boulder. Now this beautiful moment is ruined with the lazy man’s poor attempt at a get to know you. How can you end such conversation? A repertoire that has become rare in adulthood. That is like ending the book right in the middle of the climax.
Perhaps my hate for the question derives form this moment in my life. I am a student with a student job and a look that has most people fooled into thinking I am a lot older than my years. And fools come with assumptions and expectations. We are programmed to put everyone on a timeline. If you are in your early 20s, its okay to be a student in a less than ideal job living with your parents. If you’re in your 30s you should have a career you have been working on for a couple of years now. In your 40s, you should have a family and so on. So for someone that looks or talks a little older than my years I should be just finishing up school and working on a career.
So…”What do you do?”
I am a student so I work at Starbucks.
The fact that I feel the need to explain my employment is sad and amusing. It shows that I too am a fool connected to a timeline when in reality I am on my own journey. Time is irrelevant. I recently learned in my yoga classes that I should listen to my body. If I need to sit, than I sit. If I am in a position to push through than I do that. The point is not to make myself feel bad for doing or being in a different position than everyone else.
I am on my own journey, making my own moves!
So, the next time you get ask a question that triggers you the way this question triggers me, maybe you will think of a clever response or just say the answer with no explanation. I know I will.
-Peace, Love & Black Beans