“Who are you?” makes sense. But is “rude”.
“What are you?” is reductive. But “rude”.
“What do you do?” is “acceptable”. But I hate it.
I think this is a distinctly middle class opening gambit. Routine.
The expectation that one is categorisable – and happy to be categorised – on the strength of ones job. Career. Degree. Not hobbies. Not interests. Not friends, not lovers, not pets. Work.
Why must work define us?*
Particularly for people, like me, who are yet to find a fulfilling job, career, the idea that I’m expected to reveal my consummate failure to engage with adult life the moment I meet someone is terrifying. I am not my job. I do not self-identify with my job. I do not self-identify with the horror and the boredom and the ennui and the regret and the RAGE that fills me from nine until half past five every weekday. That is not me. I am not “what I do”, I am “who I am”.
And who I am is thus:
- I am a man who loves to read, but I am not a reader.
- I am a man who loves to write, but I am not a writer.
- I am a man who loves to rap, but I am not a rapper.
- I am a man who loves his cat, but I am not a momma-dependent, serialkillerinthemaking bestiailist.
I’m comfortable with what I’m not.
I’m not going to let social convention categorise me by a purely economic relationship I’m ashamed of. I’m not going to let the chains of middle class, middle England stoicism lock me into perpetual embarrassment and regret for not being able to achieve in one of the handful of ways it fucking respects.
I am Scott Manley Hadley. And I am a floppy-haired, jazz-loving, coffee-guzzling, novel-writing, lit-reading, rap-making, cat-owning, Sazerac-downing, bored, angry, misanthrope.
And I’m open for business, world…
*Read the italics throbbing with disgust.
I think you’re bomb diggity. How do you choose what you read?
Recommendations. Arbitrary picks in bookstores. The bibliographies at the back of non-fiction books. Things that appear in literary magazines. Things that interest me. Things that I’m given. Things that I feel will be helpful towards whatever doomed-to-fail literary project I happen to be working on at the time. Things I bought years ago and never read. Things I think will make me laugh or cry.
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