Surface Judgments

I have a different PT this week. Yesterday, she asked me what I did for a living, so I told her the last title I had printed on a business card.

On almost any given day at work, it’s a matter of debate what my job is and which title is most appropriate, so I stopped wasting the company’s money by ordering business cards.  I use the title that’s on the last batch of cards for some things, and other titles depending on what hat I need to wear at the time.

“That’s nice and vague,” she said.  “So, what do you actually do?”

I explained, and once again (silently) reminded myself that I need to get around to putting that explanation up on LinkedIn.

She blinked at me. “Oh, so you’re a writer.”

I blinked at her.  Most people I have this chat with just say ‘oh, you do computer stuff’, and change the subject, or start talking about their son or nephew or grandson  (never their daughter or niece or granddaughter, of course) who is into The IT. On rare occasions, I’ve been asked to explain how I got into the field I’m in, but I’d never been flat out called a writer by someone who doesn’t inhabit that plane of my personal universe.

“Er … yeah.  I guess I am,” I said.

“So, you really don’t want to write the next Great American Novel?”

I stared at her.  In retrospect, I should have asked her if she’d Googled me when she’d went back to her computer while I was working on the hand bike, but I didn’t think about that at the time.

“You didn’t tell me you were a writer,” she explained.  “Writers always tell me that they’re writers, and all about what they’re working on.  They never tell me about their day jobs.”

I mumbled something vague about liking regular paychecks and medical benefits, and was saved by another client’s coming in before I could embarrass myself further.  And why would it have been embarrassing to say “yeah, I’m working on the Great American Novel and assorted other projects in my spare time”?  Heck if I know. I’m still scratching my head about why I blurted out the line about regular paychecks and medical benefits.

I should have asked her today if she was writing the Great American Novel in her spare time.  As I thought about it after yesterday’s session, it occurred to me that she might be a closeted writer who was competing in NaNoWriMo and that was the very reason she went back to her computer while I was on the hand bike.

She could have been just as scared that I’d judge her as … hell, I probably was of her judging me.

But I didn’t ask her.

I realized that I didn’t want to ruin the mystery by getting a peek at what was beneath the surface of that conversation.

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