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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Devil Is In the Details

Contrary to what this site would indicate, I don't actually enjoy talking about myself. I enjoy talking about almost anything else, but talking about me, in a real-life context where you can't go back and hit delete, gives me this uncomfortable hyperaware feeling, like I'm fighting not to say something awkward or uncool, and midway through the conversation, I begin to fear that I'm not actually talking to the other person, but rather talking at them, inundating them with mundane stories or too much information or too little information or something they didn't bargain for when the conversation began. (In the same way that you probably didn't bargain for that awesome run-on sentence when you began reading this post. That's what I like to call a Syntax Surprise).

Last night I went out with a friend who has two older brothers that are both med students. We met at a bar with all of their other med school friends and I realized that in a group of, say, 10 people, I was the ONLY person that wasn't in residency to be a doctor. That's cool. I love asking people weird questions about the body and having an entourage of nearly certified body specialists for a night is a total geekgasm.

Everything was going great until they started asking me what I do and in realizing that I don't do anything nearly as badass as taking apart eyes or reconstructing limbs, I forgot absolutely everything interesting I've ever done in my life. All of it...gone...along with my ability to speak in polysyllabic words and construct sentences that didn't involve the word 'dude.' Giving this weird deer-in-the-headlights look, I simply said "I write about things...like, you know...stuff."

At that point, my brain sort of went AWOL and all I could hear was this constant message of:


When asked about what kind of 'stuff,' I involuntarily shrugged my shoulders in a kind of "What's it to you?" teenager-from-the-mid-90's-who-subsists-on-a-diet-of-Pearl-Jam-and-poor-hygene type way and said "I write about stuff, like, any kind of stuff...stuff like, you know, the air guitar and levelized tuition plans." It's not the statement is untrue. I cover a wide array of education and fringe arts-related subjects and have covered both topics in the past, but the way those totally random phrases rolled off my tongue last night, you'd think that the invisible instrument/college payment plan reporter was as common as saying "yeah, I'm in HR." What's worse than the annoyingly specific answer I gave was the fact that I followed it up with this bizarrely friendly shoulder shrug/smile combo as if to say, you know us fake musician/higher ed finance journalists. We are a dime a dozen aren't we?

The strangest part was that I KNEW all of this would be simultaneously retarded and pretentious-sounding as it was coming out of my mouth, but whatever part of the brain actually stops those things from being said out loud wasn't functioning at all last night, perhaps too involved with telling me to pull it together than to actually figure out how to pull it together. Walking to our second bar destination of the night, I asked one of the would-be doctors what branch of medicine he plans to go into to. He thought about it for a moment and said, "Well, I'd really like to study the Reticuloendothelial systems because I'm interested in secondary lymphoid structures, but then again, so is everyone else." I smiled to myself before replying, "Yeah dude, I know exactly what you mean."


At 6:39 PM, Blogger muse said...

lol Well, we all have our moments. ;)

I had my "...or whatever" deer-in-the-headlights/teenage moment myself, recently... LOL


At 7:41 PM, Blogger superdeens said...

Every time I'm asked what I do, I have to pause to think, and then I answer that I'm a teacher, that I teach third grade, and then involuntarily, I laugh. Like it's a joke.

I think I still can't quite believe that that's what I do all day long.

No one else ever thinks it's funny.

At 6:38 PM, Blogger The OE said...

Here's the easy way out. Put a quizical look on your face and say "nothing" and and then smirk. Works every time.


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