Wednesday, May 23, 2007

So what (exactly) do you do?

Sooner or later this question is going to come up, so we should address it now. There are two things I do (in the New York sense, more on this below). I am a Flugelbinder, aspiring to someday achieve the title of Meisterflugelbinder. This is my passion. I real life, to pay the bills, I work in an aglet factory. They have to come from somewhere, those invaluable plastic caps that keep your shoelaces from fraying. I can tell you where they come from. I wish it were more artisanal work, but that's the way it is. At least I can live for my art.

When you meet you someone in New York, first few lines of dialogue pretty much goes like this.

"Hi I'm X."

"Hi, I'm Y."

"So, what do you do?"

And somewhat later,

"So, which part of town do you live in?"

We'll come back to the last one some other time, but the "so what do you do" question is way to pin someone down. No, not just box them, but also to suggest lines for further conversation. "Ah, latex. A fascinating industry."

I am still trying to figure out what they say to each other here. Not, as far as I can tell, the old fashioned "How do you do?" I've tried a few others, with limited success: "Hi, I'm BB and I'm a flugelbinder. What about you?" or "What do you folks do around here?" or even the old New York standby "So how do you know [enter here the name of the host of the party you're at - a person neither of you typically knows directly]?" No, I'm coming to the conclusion that in this city people just tend not to speak with each other, unless of course introduced by a mutual acquaintance.

1 comment:

Lola Is Beauty said...

Oh BB haven't you worked it out yet? You say "Terrible weather we're having" or "I can't believe it's raining again" or "Lovely weather for ducks isn't it?" You're welcome.

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