Tag Archives: friendship

Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K

25 Mar


There is something interesting I’ve noticed about getting older: I’ve collected quite a few friends who are not allowed to tell me what, exactly, they do for a living. I realize, living in DC, that I probably encounter an above average amount of these types of people – what with this being the mothership of military personnel, headquarters for CIA, FBI, Secret Service men and women whipping around town in their SUVs, and God knows what else happening that we, the American Public, will never know about – but still.

It’s kind of weird.

You can’t really talk about work with them, which is fine with me, because talking about work is not one of my favorite topics, unless you’re telling a story about your co-workers that has an Office-like quality to it – then I’m all ears. But then again, talking about work and jobs is a HUGE part of conversational society here in DC. This is the city, after all, where the first question out of people’s mouths after they learn your name is, “What do you do?” Which is really code for, “Who do you know?” And that is really code for “What can you do for me?” Which is, of course, the elaborate code for “Are you worth my time?” Which might help explain why some people find it very hard to make friends in this city. (Thankfully, and not surprisingly, most of my friends here hail from the Midwest, which means that we could care less what you do, we’re just looking for an ear to talk at. Barring an ear, a wall will do.)

What was I saying?

Oh right. Shop-talk. Or lack thereof for my friends who are not allowed to talk about their jobs because they could get in serious trouble. I can’t ever imagine being in a job that I couldn’t talk about for fear of firing, leaking national secrets, or worse. How exactly does one land in such a position? And how are they able to keep such things to themselves? How do they blow off steam? Because sometimes, you just want to come home and vent vitriol about everything from the assignment you’ve been tasked to the putrid color of the lunchroom walls. But if you are one of those people who can’t tell people exactly what you do for a living? That’s got to be kind of hard. How does that rant go?

“It’s just, the general…um…er…my supervisor, he wants me to launch…I mean…there’s this project…and those damn Kurds…erm…cottage cheese! The damn lunchroom put out expired cottage cheese! Man, I am super frustrated.”

I’m guessing not so much.

But it’s interesting to think about.