It happened again today: someone asked me a seemingly simple question about what I do/ where I work. He didn’t know he was opening up Pandora’s box with his simple inquiry, but that’s what happens for most people who ask that question of a person who lives and works on a private yacht.
I’m not trolling for some twisted sympathy here, it’s just that you might not expect me to say what I’m about to admit:
I hate telling people I work on a yacht.
Just answering a question like “do you work downtown?” literally gives me a brief moment of anxiety because it can send a simple polite exchange down a rabbit hole into a long and convoluted conversation, which in the end mostly leaves me feeling like a completely self centered, pretentious asshole. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating here a little bit, so let me try to explain.
People in general seem to not really have a grasp on the yachting industry and all that it entails. This is a totally normal thing for such an enigmatic industry. However, that means that when the topic comes up that I am in fact in the industry, it leads to an onslaught of questions. I’m happy to answer them (most of the time…sometimes a girl is tired though and doesn’t feel like talking) but by the end of said impromptu interview, I’m left feeling like I’ve just talked about myself for 30 minutes straight, often awkwardly accepting exclamations like “oh my god that’s so awesome” or “your life sounds so amazing” (you’d think after 2+ years I’d have come up with a better response than “yeah, it’s alright…”), when all I was trying to do was get a cappuccino.
What’s worse is that when I’m finally done with my spiel and ask the other person what they do for work, more often than not, the answer is some cubicle job to which I have NO point of reference, other than to say, “oh, that sounds cool” (bold faced lie). Seriously, what do I say? (Okay, some jobs do seem pretty interesting but I mean, what DOES a consultant do? And how do I ask that without sounding like a complete moron?) Chances are, I’m going to be far less excited about hearing what it is like to sit at a desk for 40+ hours a week. It’s just a fact.
But here’s the other thing, in trying to avoid long drawn out explanations of my living and working situation, I often just end up sounding like a cryptic weirdo. For example, my answer to the guy who asked me if I worked downtown was “kind of”. WHO SAYS THAT? Okay, the boat is downtown so currently, yes, I am working downtown. But heaven forbid he asked where… then I would have been forced into my whole spiel once again. Sometimes, it’s just easier to leave a person thinking I’m an international woman of mystery and cross my fingers that we never cross paths again.
It’s a privileged inconvenience to have, I know. It’s just a random musing from someone on the inside.
*Also, a helpful tip for anyone who finds themselves in an impromptu interview with a yachtie: DON’T ask who owns the yacht. It will just be awkward for everyone.