Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What Am I?

"Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation."
-Friederich Nietzsche

Spouse met, quite by chance some months ago, a former acquaintance of his. The individual was most eager to know about my own background and what precisely I did for a living.
While Spouse was engaged elsewhere during a subsequent gathering, the fellow sought me out.
"Are you in hardware?" he queried bluntly, thinking perhaps that Spouse and I were colleagues. At the very least, he was convinced that we three must be skilled in the same field.
"No." I told him I was not in hardware.
"Are you in software?"
"No." I told him I was not in software either.
He fought to control his curiosity, his facial expressions, and his confusion. He failed on all counts.
"So," he said at last, after a considerable pause in which I suppose he hoped I would supply him with the answer, "what are you?" His hushed tone carried a note of true bewilderment: he was the stupefied explorer who had stumbled unwittingly across a hitherto unidentified species, a creature with no title, a being with no ascertained utility.
There are all sorts of people in the world, and a significant number of them are not, as it might happen, involved in hardware or software, or any ware.
The expectations of those who fail to formally recognise a life removed and different from their own are, I must confess, wildly amusing to the ear.


Barb said...

This was a thought provoking post .... reminding me that we are much more than what we do for a living. The schmoozing and cocktail parties where everyone walks around asking "what do you do" are places I do not enjoy being at.

Yes, once upon a time I was in software/network adminstration, but I am so much more than my past career, complexities in my personality define who I am as a person, not something I chose to do to make a living many years ago. I am defined by my family, my interests, my loves, my thoughts, my home....

You are who you are and although I've never seen a picture of you, I have an image in my mind from the thoughts you so beautifully put into written words each day that identify who you are to me.

Oh that everyone would not consider that each person was what they did for a living.

Great post once again. Barb

Pauline said...

lol - I'd have told him I was in dish-ware - I wash them frequently ;)

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Barb, I enjoyed this comment of yours very much! We are more than what we do. 'schmoozing' is the sort of word that came to mind while I was writing ;) Your comment reminded me that in 'The Little Prince' there is a thought-provoking scene.

"Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "what does his voice sound like? What games does he like best? Does he collect butterflies?"
They ask: "how old is he? How many brothers does he have? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him."
Thanks for reminding me of it, and thank you for your heartening words about my writing. I think you know me well enough- little by little a person reveals who they are through their words.

Pauline, now THAT is funny. I knew my post was missing some vital kind of ware ;)

Pappy said...

Having been retired for six years now, I'm often asked what I do. I say "nothing, I'm retired." It is as though I am cheating on life by not having a boss and a steady job. I am trying to avoid that situation with all the energy I can muster between naps. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Texican, I think that's natural- we feel we're supposed to be 'doing something' that fits into the boundary of work life. I'm not yet used to being at home all the time.
I think, though, and so does Mater, that you could easily say "I'm a poet!" :)

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