Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blog #101: Adventures in Conversation

I have an identity crisis almost every time someone asks me what I do for a living. It's not an easy answer because my pride won't allow me to just say "assistant" because I know I am only in this role because it works while I'm in grad school and I always feel like I need to clarify that. But that always invites more questions and small talk that neither me nor the asker (who is probably just being polite) is interested in going through. By saying, "assistant while I finish grad school" I end up being asked the following questions immediately:

1. Oh, where are you going to school?
2. What are you studying?
3.Oh, how much longer do you have?
4.  So what do you want to do with that?

Three out of those four questions are really easy. Number 4, however, is tricky. And again I have to choose between something that will invite further questions or a simpler, less impressive answer that will end the torture conversation. Yesterday was a big day for that for me, and both of the major offenders were men in their mid to late 40's who appeared to also be hitting on me. (Side note: perhaps I should start rethinking my skin care routine.)

The first of these conversations took place at the conference I attended in Denver.  Thankfully, I'd forgotten my business cards so I could honestly say no when the guy asked. He was really harmless though, and I had an easy excuse to get away.

The worst was this guy that practically followed me around the grocery store last night trying to make conversation. He was there with his daughter who was sprinting all over the place, but he made sure to mention his EX wife and divorce as obviously as possible. I was tempted to mention a "live in boyfriend" as a means of discouraging him since I obviously wasn't wearing a ring or anything... but then I figured the fact that my cart held four individual sized "just add water" microwave desserts, a People Magazine, and a pack of Midol would give me away as I turned down the cat food aisle.

Not only is the situation uncomfortable enough as it is, but it also sends me into the tailspin of uncertainty I had thus far been able to avoid by embarking on the business trip. However, I return to Kansas City, and there reality is - waiting to meet me in the form of a mid life crisis..

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