Friday, March 10, 2006

i hate sheep

Okay, I don't hate actual sheep; actual sheep are quite adorable, really. My problem, to be honest, is with sheeplike people. Take tonight's party...please.

My friend Rebekah brought me along to a party for a friend of hers, which seemed well and good. Rebekah is a fab individual, and it is generally a good idea to get out of your house and have a life every so often. Still, the promise of the evening came to a grinding halt when we were introduced by the hostess, within the first five minutes of our arrival, to a guy who asked us "What do you do?"


Rebekah, being superfab, replied calmly, "I'm a contortionist." I immediately burst out laughing, the guy responded with disbelief, I insisted that her five-in-a-row backflips are truly something to behold, and then Rebekah had to ruin it all by confessing that she is, in fact, not a contortionist after all. Damn her honesty.


Then more people showed up, most of whom failed to ask me anything about myself. I learned a great deal about them, inquiring into the thrilling details of their lives, but no curiosity on their ends. The brave few who bothered to ask about me had no idea what cinematography is, which is certainly fair enough. I explained it, they nodded politely, and the conversation died—until I asked some more about their lives, and they lit up and just blathered away merrily again.


The worst, though—THE ABSOLUTE PITS—were these law students talking about Coachella. They asked me if I planned to go, and I said No Thank You, I am not into Festivals of Trendiness for the Sheeplike Masses (I neglected to further mention that I can't afford the ticket—but even if I could, I seriously doubt I'd go). One of the law students replied, "Astrid, you think too much."

Think too much?

"Gee," I said, "that sure inspires confidence, coming from a law student. Remind me to hire you sometime."

"Seriously, though," he said in a genuinely earnest fashion, "I do very little thinking, and my life is great."


Then he asked me what I'm drinking.

"Coke," I replied.

"And what?" he asked.

"Just Coke."


"Why not?"

The poor guy experienced some serious consternation at this point. He studied my face carefully, clearly expecting me to break down and tearfully admit that I am a total loser, and don't know how to party. Little does he know that my brain synthesizes LSD naturally, and I've danced on bars—and gotten chased away by security—completely stone-cold sober. I am perfectly comfortable with having fun on caffeine only, and it freaked him out royally.

"But it's FRIDAY!" he exploded.

"Yes," I said.

"Do you drink at all?"


"But not now."


He regarded me some more, shook his head whilst mumbling wonderingly, and backed away into the crowd. He looked a tad frightened, which I found oddly satisfying.

But still: GAH.

I hate sheep. Where O where are the contortionists, the feverish thinkers, the folks who would rather get their fingernails ripped out one by one than ask somebody what they "do"?


  1. [ Original comment from Jay Holben imported from MySpace ]

    Okay, okay... So it's quite obvious that you were sequestered with a bunch of mindless drones whose only sense of enlightenment is found at the bottom of a 40 ouncer... But that doesn't relegate the "What do you do?" question to the froth below the pond scum of conversation starters...

    I think you're missing the beauty and simplicity involved in the question. "What do you do?" opens the door for actual conversation - for immediate connection with points of commonality or opposition with the person you wish to converse. I think you're more griping about the hollow, vacuous (intentionally redundant) inquiry wherein the inquisition’er really has no earnest interest in your reply. You're lamenting much more about the lack of sincere interest in you, which is a legitimate gripe for sure - but should not relegate the "What do you do?" query into the shitpile of "ice breakers."

    Although I am certainly guilty of throwing that phrase out there just as ubiquitously and apathetically as "how are you?" (a true question that, the majority of the time, has no authentic curiosity behind it), but the majority of the time I find someone interesting to converse with "What do you do?" is a legitimate attempt to learn something about them.

    Cinematography is a great topic to puzzle the feeble-minded, for sure, but you might try next time: "I'm a student of the aesthetics of modulation transfer function" and watch their eyes roll back into their heads...

    Sorry for the bad night. You need to hang with more interesting people.

    All the best,

    Jay Holben

    Posted by Jay Holben on March 11, 2006 - Saturday at 8:45 AM

  2. [ Original comment from k!mBeReLy & M!eTte imported from MySpace ]

    So, I don't get it. What do you do?

    Posted by k!mBeReLy & M!eTte on March 11, 2006 - Saturday at 8:45 AM

  3. [ Original comment from ! s a imported from MySpace ]

    Braying up the wrong tree in the wrong city. Move to SF, but then they call themselves "Burners" and live by the Burner Code and ostracize you for not being freakish enough. Hurray for the over-thinking, under-trendy, faux-contortionists!

    Posted by ! s a on March 11, 2006 - Saturday at 8:45 AM

  4. [ Original comment from Dorkface! imported from MySpace ]

    FADE IN:


    Several groups of people are milling about. Through the groups ASTRID is standing next to a table of refreshments.

    In a world known for outlandish parties, wild nights, and free spirited thinkers, there was one who truly embodied the notionand for going against the grain, the supposed wild normality, and living the freedom so oft professed in the land, she was shunned for being that which all strove to be

    Astrid pours a Coke as SHEEP 1 and SHEEP 2 approach. Eager, she sips.


    Posted by Dorkface! on April 14, 2006 - Friday at 10:55 AM

  5. [ Original comment from Gordie imported from MySpace ]

    GAH and stuff is right!

    But think of this, without sheep we wouldn't have towels. Equate towels to sponges and sponges to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern *presto* I can now chuckle away and await the pirates.

    My only point of contention is that I believe "what do you do?" can be a genuine question. I've had it said to me and I've said it to others and it has led to some really good conversations. Unfortunately, I have also heard it said in the same likeness as "do you know where the bathroom is?", which, although the answerer's answer is hear, it is completely forgotten once the asker has flushed the toilet.

    Posted by Gordie on April 28, 2006 - Friday at 2:42 PM

  6. [ Original comment from Astrid imported from MySpace ]

    sponges = Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Um....

    And yeah, I guess the consensus on here is that "What do you do?" can be a perfectly fine question to ask. I personally prefer asking people if they've been up to anything fun lately, and if not, then I ask them to make something up. Still, I'll try to control my eye-rolling at future parties....

    Posted by Astrid on April 28, 2006 - Friday at 2:49 PM