I have a couple of friends that are easy. They are teachers. We all know what they do because we have all experienced their work. I have a friend who is a doctor. Easy peasy. But then I must delve into more difficult territory. For example, I never really knew what the Engineer did before he was a student.
I know it involved spreadsheets, and making power lines talk to substations. Exactly how he did that I never knew. Maybe he told me once but I probably stopped listening when Friends got back from commercial. Currently he works at a big investment bank. I know that the bank is really famous and gets positive nods from people when I proudly tell them where he works. But what does he do? Umm, I think it involves calling people in Brazil. And something to do with money.
One day my friend was visiting from Hong Kong. She asked me if I knew what she did. I said, "you convince big companies to use your bank". She burst out that 'she was not a teller who stamped bankbooks!'. I know that! I said that! She gets bigs companies to use her bank and works in marketing. T repeated what she did. I still think what I said sounds like what she does.
Another friend is a geologist. I know that means she likes rocks. She digs wells. She digs in rocks for oil. Pretty easy to understand right? Somehow I don't think so.
It isn't that I don't listen. It's just that I don't really understand. But do I need to know more than what company you work for?
What I do is easy. Well, to me at least.
Once at a family gathering of the Engineer's, his uncle and patriarch of the family was speaking to me. I must premise this with the fact that the Engineer is Chinese and comes from a large, traditional Chinese family. By traditional I mean, highly ambitious, highly intelligent, highly hard-working DOCTORS. The Engineer is an oddball. So anyways, Uncle Patriarch (and doctor) asked if I was also an Engineer. Oh no, I quipped, I am an actress.
Uncle took in a deep breath of excitement and said how wonderful. I felt this was an odd reaction for a 70-year old Chinese uber-successful doctor. And then he asked: what insurance company did I work for?
I had to correct him: not an actuary, an actress. But I am in an Aviva commercial if that helps?
He quickly ended the conversation and walked away. Soon to be replaced by another uncle who was fascinated by my field. Thrilled to know a real-life actress (you can insert freak here), he wanted to know what it exactly was that I did.
Me: Have you ever watched TV?
Me: You know those people on TV?
Me: That's what I do.
Simple simple. He was still quite perplexed though. Understandably. Why on earth would anyone want to face daily rejection, instability, and long periods of unemployment when one could be a doctor?
Really, why would we do that?
Anyways, friends, I do know what you do. I just know what you do in Sarah's terms.