Thursday, September 28, 2006

What job do I do?

Part of the reason that I occasionally get mistaken for something terribly exotic - like a spy, or an escaped convict, or an eccentric, down-dressing millionaire - is that I am always determinedly evasive about discussing my employment.

I've never found myself in a job where I felt really at home, where I said to myself, "This is me." And perhaps I am never likely to find one. I am not one of those people who feel themselves defined primarily or solely by their work. Perhaps I am more defined by my avoidance of work. Not that I am lazy: I like to be busy, I like to work hard - but never for too long at the same thing. I have always been deeply sceptical of conventional 'career paths'. I prefer to dodge full-time or long-term employment, and if I do find myself doing the same kind of thing in the same place for more than a year or two I start to itch for a change of scene.

When challenged about my job at cocktail parties, I sometimes like to say that I am a beachcomber. Not literally, but metaphorically. I walk the lonely strand beside our turbid ocean of culture, and occasionally, very occasionally I happen on something I feel I might be able to fashion into something beautiful or useful - or just sell on to make a quick buck.

A collector of shiny things, that's me.


Anonymous said...

Ah, but to "literally" be a beachcomber - what a beautiful life.

The last several summers Bat and I would often join the Climber (another favorite walking companion) at his place in Chincoteague for weekend getaways from our oh-so-unstessful DC lives. Have you been there (Chincoteague)?

Beyond my immediate fascination with the islands (Chincoteague/Assateague) from the childhood story "Misty" (about a wild horse), the islands have much to offer. Trails, lighthouses, homemade icecream (the only type worth having) and, of course, beaches.

The beaches and the oddities that wash ashore on them have given rise to a collection of bizarre shops like "Under the Sea" and "Lost and Found" - selling a bizarre assortment of shiny items found on the beach. We could have spent our entire weekends browsing through their merchandise, coming up with stories, but we didn't - afterall, we had our own beachcombing to do!

I am in **** now. After a few warm weather teaser days (we hit 50 F) the winds have picked up again and my hands are constantly cold, again. (as a newbie, I actually thougth our below freezing days were over!) I dream of Chincoteague.

Froog said...

No, I've never heard of Chincoteague. I'll look it up next time I'm over there.

Presumably a Native American word?

Sounds suspiciously like an anagram!!

Anonymous said...

Never heard of Chincoteague!!! (big sigh) I guess you never read Misty, either.

Yes, Native American. the islands are a 3 hour drive from DC. I think most ppl go to the Delaware Shore (Rehoboth? and someplace else that's glitzy, but I can't remember the name.)

Chincoteague is way nicer. Less of a party beach, more of a chill out and relax beach.

A Spanish ship carrying horses to the New World shipwrecked. the horses swam to Assateague. To this day, there are feral horses on Assateague and the area's been turned into a national park. From Chinco. you can see them runnin beautiful.

Last week of July, the firemen's association in Chincoteague goes over to Assat. and gathers up the horses, swimmng them across the channel. They hold an auction. The proceeds go to the fire department. It's been going on for decades. Misty was a little pony that was brought across and bought by a little brother and sister, who raised her, then let her go, realizing her free spirit.

that last week of july is the best time to go. Chinco is still very much of a village. and I've heard from the Climber that the week long festival is authentic village stuff. I keep missing exactly that week, but end up going other weekends during the summer. Maybe next summer.

Um, off topic, but here's a book recommendation for you "Ella Minnow Pea." I'll tell you what triggered the recommendation later.

Froog said...

Oh, to litorally be a beachcomber!

A Classicist's pun. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Anonymous said...

How funny; I've never seen anyone mention the littoral anywhere! I've stopped using it in casual conversation because no one ever knows what I am talking about.

Froog said...

My, you have been ranging far and wide in the archive, haven't you, CW?

Have I not cured your insomnia yet??

Soon, I hope.

Glad you're enjoying your meanderings around the nether corners of my brain, anyway.