I’ve been battling a demonic cold. It’s half my fault. My status as a smoker has come back to haunt me in all kinds of way. I tried to quit, but it’s hard. I suppose though that dying would be harder. Anyways when I get a cold it becomes this thing where my body tries to drown itself. I have to think about breathing.
Does this stop me from working, no of course not. I’m insane and I like what I do.
At one of my many jobs I’m the mild mannered person that comes in occasionally to give advice and set up programs. I guess that’s called a consultant.
As I was typing a report, a fellow consultant struck up a conversation. Trying to give me advice on what I should do with my life.
There are many woman of a certain age who feel it’s their duty to give me life advice or to just judge me because their daughter moved out of state to get away from them. They feel bad if they can’t make someone else feel bad and insecure on a regular basis. Phone calls just do not have the same impact.
I’m lucky my mother is not like that, but I feel sorry for the people whose mothers are like a walking stereotype of vile, judgmental, assholiness.
“You’re about my daughter’s age. What you should do is do what I’m doing,” fellow consultant.
I didn’t remember asking her about what I should be doing. I have no idea why she was offering this unsolicited advice.
“I understand. I think what you do is great. I just feel that there is more of a need to do what I’m doing right now,” me.
“I make more money than you,” fellow consultant.
“That’s fine. I’m not doing this just for the money,” me.
As we both wrote our reports, she began to talk about the economy. We both agreed that it was horrible. I said I was tired of discussing it. It isn’t true, but in certain environments there are certain topics you just stay away from.
I tried to redirect the conversation to consulting and clients, but she kept coming back to the economy. Finally she brought up the upcoming elections.
“Wow that race is something,” fellow consultant.
Oh shit I thought in my head. I know where this is going. I didn’t want to have this conversation. Not with this woman. Not with this woman who I could tell had a big freakin’ mouth, had been around for years and was very judgmental and could just spread all kinds of crap about me if I didn’t say something that she viewed was sort of “reasonable”. I suspected this was the conversation she wanted to have in the first place and I was just the right age, ethnicity and temperment to have this conversation with.
Working for yourself doesn’t mean that you can just not care what others think. Your reputation if you work for yourself is even more important than if you are just a regular 9-5er.
I in general have avoided the Obama conversation like the plague, because it’s never a conversation just about Obama. It often turns into a conversation about race (more specifically my race) or a conversation about crazy.
“I am voting for McCain,” fellow consultant.
So I had already thought of a great response to this statement, since this happens to me quite a bit even though I literally bend over backwards to not have this conversation.
“Well, I think they are both good candidates. McCain has a lot of heart and Obama he has great ideas. Truly if you want your guy to win you probably should want your guy to lose and run again in four years because who is going to fix this economic mess?” me.
Isn’t this a great response? It doesn’t accuse anyone of anything. It doesn’t allow people to fight with you for no reason and you don’t have to look rude like you would if you just got up.
It sort of works, but this woman wanted a response from me. A real one. Not a canned one that I give for people who ask questions like, “Can I touch your hair?” If you are asking me if you can touch my hair, you are a lost cause and I will not waste either of our limited time on this planet dialoguing with you on any level.
“The terrorist could be making plans right now. I think they are. We should attack Iran,” fellow consultant.
“I’m thinking about moving to Sweden, so I haven’t given it much thought,” me.
“The terrorist, what they could do is attack the elementary schools, since we care about our children,” fellow consultant.
In my head I thought. What a shitty comment. Everyone cares about their children. Americans don’t have the market cornered on that and from the looks of our education system; we only care a little anyway.
“What would Obama do about that?” fellow consultant.
She didn’t give me a chance to answer. And besides how do you answer crazy? You don’t, because crazy is deaf.
“You know in this country we let anybody in? They don’t even have to speak English, in Sweden they have standards for entry,” fellow consultant.
Keep in mind I never, ever said that I was an Obama supporter. I never made a disparaging remark about John McCain, but this did not matter. I think this woman was having a virtual argument with Jon Stewart using me as the Virgin Mary.
She was talking through me not to me.
I decided to escape.
“I’ve got an appointment in South Central. Nice talking to you,” me.
“Ok then. You think about changing your life. Here’s my card. I’m right you know. You should be doing what I’m doing. You’re a smart girl,” fellow consultant.
by Browne Molyneux