It’s not a trick question. Everybody asks you that, from the time you’re out of high school or college. Somehow our identities are defined by what we do professionally.
For someone like me, who hasn’t worked full-time in more than a year, this question gets awkward for meeting new people in the Charleston area. I think it’s more so for them than for me, because I know why I’ve told them, “Oh, I’m not working right now.” I have a pocket-full of reasons, from the intensity of my last full-time job causing daily migraine attacks, to getting treatment for the alcohol abuse I mentioned in my previous post, to knee surgery in June 2017, to deciding that now is the time to get back into writing the novel I’ve been toiling over since I was in my early twenties. It’s difficult to encapsulate all of that when you are first introduced to someone and they want a tidy answer, like, “I’m an accountant.”
The other side of “what do you do?”—the more literal one, as in, “how do you spend your time?”— is one that no one has actually asked me, but is one that I really find interesting. I write, of course, and I try to treat it like a nine-to-five job, but more often than not, I find myself pretty busy just living life as a sober person. I completely want to hashtag that with #firstworldproblems, and I acknowledge that I am very lucky that Adam is in my life to support me, in all the ways that he does. I wish that I could contribute more financially, but for now I’m paying my own bills with sales from my poshmark closet, or at least trying to, and household expenses are what they are.
We have a very clear division of labor in our house. Adam does the “If it doesn’t get done, we’re going to have problems” stuff, like taking out the trash, cleaning the bathrooms, and vacuuming. I’m in charge of the invisible, day-to-day things that make life run seamlessly for both of us, like throwing away shampoo bottles and buying new ones, emptying the wastebaskets into the barrel, tidying up, and taking that damn 20 pence piece that has been sitting on the dryer since Adam got back from Scotland and putting it on his nightstand with his other cool coins.
We run like a well-oiled machine. If something happened to one of us, the other would not only feel a tremendous loss, but have a chaotic home. So the best plan, I think, for everyone’s sake, most of all Vinnie’s, we should just maintain the status quo.
I feel like I like wrap this up in some kind of impactful way, like, make a commentary about how society forces us to use our professions as our identities, and that it’s rude to ask someone in France, “What do you do?” Instead, I’ll just leave the comments open and let you say whatever you have to say. Thanks for reading, and for loving my awesome cat.