“What do you do?” he asked with wide-eyed anticipation.
“Well, I straighten the living room every morning and clean the kitchen several times a day. I take the puppy out every hour, which is no small task because there are 32 steps per trip. I go to the grocery store and contemplate my purchases of milk, peach iced tea, pop tarts and cereal, hoping it reflects nothing upon my mothering skills. I take pictures of sunsets and pine cones and random leaves in the rain. I laugh with my teen-aged children and find myself wanting to shellac them in place to this very time when I know where they sleep and they’re warm in my house. I write little snippets of thoughts that I don’t call poetry but sometimes can be seen as poetic. Every evening, I listen for the train and it brings me comfort. I share jokes with my husband and miss him when he’s working away from us. Sometimes I make scrambled eggs for breakfast. Occasionally I draw on rocks or cut butterflies out of white paper. I drive with the windows down and Tom Petty playing in the background. I drink coffee with generous amounts of sugar and milk. I clean the bathrooms and don’t particularly enjoy that task although I don’t mind running the vacuum as much as I mind doing the laundry.”
Glassy-eyed and frightened, he walked away.
If I’d have said, “graphic designer” would that have told him what he wanted to know?