Sunday, April 09, 2006

do be do be do

Are we what we do? Or do we become our occupation? That would be pretty sad though, since most of us probably dreamt of being something we didn’t end up doing eight hours a day. And what about people who haven’t started work yet – or people who are unemployed? Maybe it’s like with sculptures: depending on the base material, there is only a limited amount of tools that will decide the final sculpture. Take clay for example. You couldn’t use some huge hammer as you would if it was marble. The finished sculpture could look the same but you can’t use the same tools to get there. I don’t apply a different value to the clay contra the marble (I prefer to make clay sculptures myself though), but like with occupations: different materials are good/useful in different ways. Clay is not the material to choose if you want to make a statue, and marble is not the easiest material to make fine details in. I wanted to be a tight-rope dancer or a gardener when I was younger. Considering that I am scared of heights and am allergic to freshly cut grass: it must be like a piece of clay wishing to become an image of some dead king on a city square somewhere.

At the improv-group, we where not allowed to talk anything about our occupation. A very smart move actually because that way we only imagined people for who/what they where portraying that moment, not what they where outside of the stage. On our last night we went out for beers to celebrate. Someone started guessing what every body worked with. It was fun! We had been doing silly things and pushed our limits together and alone for the last few weeks without knowing anything personal about each other. Half of the people I managed to pin-point at my first guess. Like the woman who was in upper management and the journalist. The guy who was a script writer was almost disappointed that I guessed his occupation right away. Maybe he thought it was too out there for us to come up with. But he has the same cool calm that my friend who is a script writer (and drama teacher) has. It’s not the kind of cool I have in business context, which is more a controlled cool to make sure I stay on top of the situation. No, this seam to come from within. My theory is that they are secure in themselves and who they are, and the writing probably becomes an outlet for frustrations, fears and hopes in such a way that it doesn’t have to disturb who they are outside of the writing. This made me think that maybe there are only a few occupations that are suitable for each person. Or do we become that person after we choose a certain job? Do some people start out as clay and some as marble? Would I have been a different person if I had become a gardener?

I don’t think it’s just what we do that shapes us, it’s also where we do it and who we have around us that mold who we are. Take me for example. Now when I’m in an environment where I’m only expected to work eight hour days, I have so much extra energy that I have a hard time using it in a sensible way. Had I been in a relationship now I would have handcuffed that guy to my bed-post and worn him out. Instead I have been shopping. Hopefully Amex doesn’t have hit-men on their payroll because I would probably end up on their list! Don’t think I will be able to pay my next bill actually. Darn this energy ;-) Well some of it is spent on rational activities. I have been preparing lunch boxes for each day. That might be pure survival instinct though since the canteen at my new job is awful. Before I start moving walls in my apartment or something, I think I’ll start going to the gym. Where else would my energy be of best use?!

There is a thing with the gym though: none of the other people in the weight room get red-faced or sweaty. I don’t know how they do it or why they do it. Girls do get sweaty at the gym, but only when taking classes. Some guys have no problem sweating on the treadmill, and apparently preferably next to me. At least the ones who decided not to wash their clothes from last time they went to the gym… But I don’t think it’s only because I work out hard that the guys in the weight-room doesn’t check me out. There is a much bigger competition: themselves! Most of the guys seam to do lifting in a non-ergonomic move, constantly checking themselves in the mirror. Oh I know that you should look in the mirror to make sure you do the movements correctly, but when you are done: it looks kinda silly to prance around and flex in front of the mirror. Or is that just me? And you KNOW that a guy like that is more interested in having a member of his fan club doting on him than him aiming to please his partner. Some guys are just meant to look at, some are meant to date. I was a sucker for pec’s and bic’s (chest and arms) when I was younger. It was almost like a joke amongst my friends, because you could tell as soon as you walked in to a place which of the guys I would walk up to. But that got old. I am so not fan club material.

On one of my shopping sprees I went though my entire wallet in search of something I can’t remember now. It turns out I have been saving some fortunes that you get at Chinese restaurants in the US when you pay the bill. I’ve been told that you have to take a bite of the cookie before you read the fortune. And you should add “in bed” after the fortune. Adding or not, the fortunes that I have saved are pretty cool. Funny I would have found them now, at the start of my new life with a new job and all:

  • The tide of change approaches.
  • You have given some thought to a different life style.
  • A welcome change is about to happen.
  • When time permits, your personal life will be exciting.

It must be a sign! The fortune-cookie-Gods are talking to me! Right on! Bring on the change ;-)


Anonymous Emma said...

I do hope that your job doesn´t form you too much as I work in a community outside Stockholm. I mean, sometimes the workload is really heavy, and I like my tasks, but it sometimes take ages to come to conclusions. So we can talk about the same problem for long, long times. And I hardly see myself as a person that is in that way in privat...or am I? As for the gym, when I was younger I really didn´t care much for muscles, but today...I really do care. It's strange, I think it should be the opposite...or?

5:39 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

You really spoke about individuality here. I absolutely loved every word in this post! I have to say, whoever gets to be tied up to your bed post getting ‘worn out’ has to be one lucky guy! (Or girl???) Okay okay, I’m done badgering you with my flirtatious hidden innuendoes…….or are they hidden?

(Shut up Deb! She’s straight! Get that through your thick skull!)

Multiple personality disorder rearing its ugly head again…sorry.

Anyway, I have to say that I come across the same thing at the gym. Some people are crazed with the mirror thing---the after work out scene. There’s this one guy in my gym----totally beefed up on steroids---HAS to be…and after his weights---he runs right up to the mirror and roars at himself as he flexes.

“ARRRGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!” As he stands there like the hulk.

The first time he ever did this in front of me, I got so scared, I practically fell off the treadmill. Why? I don’t get it.

As far as guessing occupations… Have you ever rummaged around the ‘just got married’ section of the newspaper? It always has a picture of the couple and at the end, what they do for a living. My sister and I would look at their pictures, and guess their occupation before reading it. It became like the Sunday morning game. I still do it till this day, and 80% of the time, I’m always ‘right on target’… There’s a certain look to a person with a certain occupation. Weird, huh? That’s why I can totally see you guessing that script guy’s occupation. You just ‘know’ sometimes.

Interesting post! Loved it!

7:25 AM  
Blogger Åsa said...

Emma! I have total understanding for your muscle need! It's seeing what they do in the gym that disturbs me... But I think muscles are like a lot of beauty and art things: just because it makes you happy seeing/touching/experiencing doesn't mean you want to wake up with it every morning. Right?

12:46 PM  
Blogger Åsa said...

Deb! I'm so glad you understand my post! Most of the times things sounds good while just in the head, but they come out confusing when in writing.

And being flirted with makes my day ;-) I'm taking that as a compliment?!

The sad thing about the roaring, steroid pumped builders is that once they are off the meds: zero se x drive. Imaging ending up with a guy like that. Horror!

We don't have a 'just got married' section in the Swedish newspaper unfortunately (just pictures). But my sister and I like to guess what the people do when we go apartment hunting (a Stockholm Sunday activity) though. The only thing is that we never find out who these people are, so we haven't been able to check our on target ratio.

Have a good weekend!

1:05 PM  
Blogger Åsa said...

Oh and Emma: I KNOW you are not your work. Maybe something other than your job has molded you?

Glad Påsk!

1:06 PM  
Blogger Eddo said...

Very insightful post!

I work as a Mobile Phone specialist, but I also do a great deal of web design. I dance, and sing too and so I don't really think that any of these define me wholly. I am just me.

oh, and how did you find my Marry Me section? I am always curious!

1:49 PM  
Blogger Åsa said...

Well Eddo, first I went to Deb's site: and there I found who wrote "Ladies, this will make you swoon" about your blog. I don't know what swoon is, but it sounds like something good so I checked it out!

And it sounds like your work and life outside work makes you a very diverse person :-)

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post. A few different planes of thought here.

I sure hope that our jobs don't occupy us so much that we can do/think of nothing else. That would be very sad.

In many ways, some people 'live to work' while others 'work to live'- I used to be a 'live to work' till I realized that how much ever work you do, there will always be work and there will always be a tomorrow.


10:19 PM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

Yeah, I have heard about those 'steriod type men' who muscle that got a wee bit smaller. Yep. ;)

7:10 AM  

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