My Secret Vocation is [insert your answer here]

Secret Identity courtesy of Farm3 on Flickr

This post was prompted by Timothy Power‘s comment on Facebook yesterday, when he said he’d been asked the location of the snoring strips at a pharmacy.

When you are out in public, do people ever assume you are an expert or staffperson in a consistent setting?

The ToolMaster is the default go-to guy in the Home Depot or hardware department of any store I’ve ever visited. Sometimes that’s because he’s wearing coveralls. Sometimes it’s because people sense a nascent authority when it comes to all things related to home repair or renovation. I’m convinced it’s bred into every pore of his skin. He could wear a bag over his head and pink flowered pants, and people would still come up to him and ask how to install a toilet.

I myself have two speshul skills:

1. A face that invites confidences: I first noticed it in high school on a day when I washed my hands in a public restroom. My gaze connected with another woman’s  in the mirror over the sink and without so much as a grunt of encouragement on my part, she spilled all about her boyfriend problems and parent issues. That experience — or one similar — has been repeated time and again. I’m inclined to believe I could clean up as a medium.

2. Grocery store clerk: I can be dressed at my frumpiest and be pushing a card laden with groceries, or stopping for a quick item on the way to a wedding reception and accordingly glammed up, but a customer almost always stops me to ask if I’ll:

  • read or interpret the ingredients label for a food item
  • point out the aisle which holds a certain product, or
  • advise them how to cook a specialty item.

So what’s your secret identity? If your life depended on you being able to impersonate a particular type of professional, which one would be your best bet?

And why do you suppose Timothy Power is the go-to guy for sleep aids? I find him naturally funny, but what do I know?

20 thoughts on “My Secret Vocation is [insert your answer here]

  1. Me secret identity is leader/supervisor.

    With almost every job I’ve had I wind up being some kind of supervisor or team leader. The thing is-I hate being the one in charge. I just want to be a drone like everyone else. I think maybe there is a shortage of reliable and punctual people who don’t call in sick in the grocery industry.

    That and Zellers-I got accosted in Zellers.

  2. Boy, I don’t know my secret identity. When I first read your blog title, I thought it said “My secret VACATION is….” I’m thinking heat, sand between the toes, sunburn. But, then my too-pale skin might cause others to mistake me for the cruise director, who stays cooped up, instead of the woman in need of respite. And, a margarita.

  3. Donna, you do have an air of authority. But I hear you on the desire to escape the leadership chain of command.

    Christi, LOL, or a vampire. Come to think of it, I’d prefer the cruise director position, myself. 😉

    Jess, for sure! And you still do look very youthful. Someday you’ll be glad for those genes.

    Timothy, proactivity is attractive in all its guises. Perhaps you could be a new age author/speaker…?

  4. People just walk up to me and start conversations with me. They don’t realize I’m deaf, but it doesn’t seem to bother most of them. They keep talking and I keep nodding and smiling . . . 😉

    Would that make me a therapist?

  5. Hmmm, probably a computer guru…which I’m not. People always assume since I can get around the internet and I’ve worked in an office with Excel/Powerpoint/Word for 20ish years, that I’m the go-to girl for anything computer related. Eeesh! I know some software tricks, but don’t get me going on hardware….I know just enough to mess things up and get myself in trouble….because I sometimes believe my own hype and give it a shot! Which usually leads to repetitive cursing and the eventual hiring of what is now our “computer guy”.

  6. *laughing!*

    Hmm, I do, or did, have the confidences thing – I guess I have a friendly face – or at least I used to – now I don’t know what my face is – I think it may be “guarded” – or maybe it’s still all open and smiley and “hello y’all ish”

    While in Vegas last summer with my brother, I was walking along minding my own business when this older man passed me by and pointed ot me and told his friend (whom he was showing around) that I was “a call girl” – erk – um, not something you want to be mistaken for I guess… huhn… *shrug* laugh

  7. T, yes, I’d say “shrink” would fit you quite nicely. Either that or bobblehead. 😉

    Sharla, those are some good skills to have, except when you’re pushed to exceed them. That’s a gateway to a whole lot of trouble.

    Kat, “call girl”? “Call girl”? Were you wearing something risque? I will say that many men with dementia tend to see sexual cues in the most random of things. 🙂

  8. Hmmm…maybe police officer? I often feel like putting people under citizens arrest…my patience for fools has gone way down over the years. Having said that, maybe “crabby old lady” is more appropriate.

    1. Another one! Yay. 🙂

      Yes, personally I’m flattered that people are willing to share. I’m a little stunned at the places, sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade that ability away for anything. And it is a gift when it comes to parenting or writing.

  9. I think you should totally go with that medium thing. What great book material you’d end up with! I used to have that spill your guts thing, too, but I ended up collecting a lot of weirdos who wanted to continue hanging out with me (Nut Magnet is the way I put it)… I could totally pass as a therapist, but that isn’t so off from my training. I think I must exude some sort of authority–when I go to random offices I get asked questions a lot–like they assume I work there instead of being a client, patient or customer–not the grocery though–unless a short person needs a top shelf item–I get asked that a lot.

  10. I am the official tour guide, no matter where I am. I can’t even count how many people have stopped me to ask for directions and I’ve had to answer, “Sorry — this is my first time here!” LOL I guess I always look like I know where I’m going. 🙂

  11. Hart, LOL on the “nut magnet” line. Are you tall? Somehow I’d pictured you as a petite thing.

    Tracey, vacuum cleaner salesman…? Porn star…? 😉

    Donna, that’s a good skill to have. You must exude confidence! Would love to meet you in person some day and see what they’re noticing about you.

  12. I can be a makeup artist or beauty consultant, because women have stopped me in the store to ask me what color lipstick or nail polish would look best on them.

    My friends tell me I can be a P.I. I have a knack for finding info on others. My students also think I have bionic eyes and ears since I catch their tiniest wrongdoings.

    1. I could see that about the beauty consultant. Your photos have a polish that some women – including me – can’t carry off for more than a few minutes. 🙂 And I bet the nose for secrets and intrigue serve you well as a novelist.

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