5 Minutes in Hell
1: I’m at a dinner, and a friend asks, “How’s Work?” 2: I’m at a party, and a stranger says “What do you do?” 3: I run into a friend’s mom, and she says “What are you up to these days?”
I gear up. Here goes 5 minutes of back and forth small talk on my ‘life’.
Great!! I’m at B company. I’m doing C there. So that’s everything from doing W to Z. It’s really challenging, but I really like it.
Deep breath. The Impress PersonX Auto-Response is over (IPAR). *Shit. Do they think I’m legit enough?* Another deep breath.
99% of these conversations are really hard for me (unless I’m sitting double chinned on a couch with my best friend). Why? Because I’m worried. I’m worried I just don’t sound good enough.
I’ve had this paranoia my whole life, and it became increasingly prominent in April of last year, when I quit my job in Tech to pursue a journey to Art. It was then that I had to reconstruct Impress PersonX Auto Response, IPAR. Imagine:
I run into a friend’s mom, and she says “What are you up to these days?”
The truth is I’m repeatedly painting photos of rabbits, but the Control Center in my brain is going haywire. IPAR FAILURE. How To Make Self Sound Impressive. What To Say. Even as I write this story to you, the Reader, I want to further explain to you that I am doing more than just painting rabbits.. Shit.
That’s when I cracked.
I realized nothing would probably sound as impressive as I’m at Z company. I’m doing X there.
I couldn’t impress her or you, but this conflict got me thinking. I began to wonder — how many of my friends live their lives for those 5 minutes, basing their decisions on what will sound most impressive:
Which college sounds the best?
Which job title?
Which words to describe what I do will make me sound important?
If you answer all the above correctly, you end up with the perfect 5 minute conversation. You. Are. Impressive.
But are you? That is.. are you impressive to yourself? When I think of answering these questions, I wonder… who am I trying to make happy — the person asking or me? After all, it’s ONLY a silly 5 minute conversation that doesn’t matter, especially to the person asking, so why do people live for it?
That’s when I realized, I can no longer live for that 5 minute conversation. I’m living those 5 minutes for me, and I’ll be painting rabbits.
Update: The next post is up — Life as a Mindless Zombie.