Godmama Says…
a buncha stuff.

one of the things I don’t like about Austin…

Okay, I need to vent something.    Since I have lived here in Austin, I keep hearing about how one of the great things about this town is how no one cares about your job.   Supposedly,  no one asks What You Do and then judges you by your response.   This perception of Austin has always confounded me.   I have never experienced the “So, what do YOU do?”  phenomenon quite as abrasively as I have since I’ve been here,  and I’ve lived in New York City, where ambitious self-obsession is a must-have survival mechanism.  Maybe it isn’t about the town at all.  Obviously there is the potential for pretension and judgment everywhere that there are people.  So why is this something I’m only noticing here in Austin?   Why would I be coming across such an increase in job-snobbery now?   I imagine the earthquake of a shift in my social circle plays a role.   When you are surrounded by peers who do what you do for work or pleasure or whatever,  there isn’t a question.  You don’t ask each other what you do for a living,  you just talk about it.  It’s why you know each other and are comfortable in conversation.  You go on and on about how great IT is and new and fantastic ways that IT is being done.    But what if there is an outsider amongst you who not only doesn’t do IT but doesn’t know anything about IT?  The one who hasn’t contributed to the conversation about how great the thing you love is becomes a target of momentary interest.  The loaded question is fired:  “So…what do YOU do?”

I am that outsider now.   I am the one who feels condescended to every time I open my mouth in a group of people discussing something they assume (rightly, perhaps) that I know nothing about.  It is that condescension that makes a person into a snob.   There is a difference between a snob and a geek.  A geek knows a lot about a thing and is (over)eager to share their knowledge and excitement.  A snob assumes you should be embarrassed that you don’t know in the first place.   Snobs scoff.   I fucking hate that. To be fair, everybody alive is both a snob and a geek about different things at some point.   I have always had a lot of geeks in my life.  Now I’m a new girl in a new world lacking an impressive label.    Imagine:  Rock chick/sometimes artist/former bartender  with zero college education at a dinner party with Computer freakin’ Engineers.  It’s like a sit-com that isn’t quite as funny as you’d think.

Used to being a big fish in a big pond,  sometimes now I just feel like a weird fish in small sandbox.

It also helps to know the answer to the question What Do You Do.  This is the longest stretch I’ve gone without a satisfactory response.  I have never been one to define myself by my day  job, and so it rankles my nerves to no end when I feel like I’m being asked to.   “What do you enjoy doing?” is one thing,  but  “What do you do to pay the bills?” is obnoxious and weird.   If you ask me what some of my very best friends do for work, I would have a hard time telling you.  I have never really asked. I could tell you who they are or what they are like or why I dig them,  but I have no clue about what they do behind a desk in an office building.   It could very well be my own insecurity or imagination, but I swear I have heard people here form entire conversations using only the contents of their precious résumés.

Ah, but now I’m being the snob.  I’m angry at people who might scoff at my ignorance of their world,  and so I’m scoffing back.  Not very enlightened,  but it’s what feels right at the moment.    Sorry to make my first blog back in a hundred weeks such a cranky one.  Anger and a need to vent can be good for writer’s block removal.  This ain’t my first word tantrum and it will not be my last.  Doesn’t mean I’m unhappy, just means I’m choosing to type instead of break things and scream.   I’ll be back soon with some of the positive and uplifting stuff that’s in my heart and on my mind, I promise myself that.

Right now I need lunch and a nap.   Goodnight.


8 Responses to “one of the things I don’t like about Austin…”

  1. Tough call for me. You’re certainly going to be on the outs when you’re hanging out with computer programmers-that’s a given. I find that people really don’t concentrate on that here but I wonder how they have so much time to have all the fun they’re having.

  2. You are an amazing person, no matter what you are doing. Jobs change, but people’s shining souls stay pretty much the same, in my experience – we grow some and stagnate some but we don’t actually change much.

  3. Good to see you blogging again and who it shouldn’t matter if you’re cranky because you’re a person with feelings and opinions.

    I sometimes find myself like you.
    After meeting someone, if you ask me what the person was wearing, I could probably only tell the color, not the shoes and how it looked and even the hair. I just don’t pay attention to those things sometimes. I try not to ask people what they do too, but if they ask, I might ask back. I’m learning to ask back, just because when I get home, I’d say to myself, why didn’t I question the person just like how he/she questioned me. So yes, if I remember, I’ll ask back.

  4. This arrogance is due to the influx of people from other states (present company excluded). If someone throws an attitude at you, ask them if they’re from Texas. They are either not, or they are from Dallas, which is an evil hole. Real Texans have manners. Sorry you have to endure this.

  5. You should just start replying with the things you love.

    Them:”what do YOU do”
    You: “I make _____(whatever arts you participate in, or have a particular love for at that moment), I ______ (sing, dance, kickass, etc…), I write amazing things that even people who don’t know me very well find extremely fascinating, etc… That’s WAY more interesting than ANYONE’S job!

    • that’s true, meghan. i think i get pissy about it though when i don’t evbn have any HOBBIES going at the time, which has been the case since i’ve lived here. i *haven’t* had a band or anything~ haven’t really done anything interesting consistently enough to call it a regular pasttime.
      i dunno ~ i just need to find somethin’ to do…

      when i’m feeling particularly snarky and someone asks what i do, the answer that comes to mind is “well, i masturbate a lot…”
      haven’t used it yet… maybe next time 😉

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