Most of your high school friends either work service jobs or government jobs, or are in the military. Your older friends are nurses, teachers or craftsmen. Your younger friends are clerks, in sales or cadets. When you meet someone new, you don’t ask where they work, because it’s not important and doesn’t define a person. Work is just what you do to survive.
When you read an article entitled “The Best Pho in San Jose” or “The Best Burrito in San Francisco,” you feel inexplicably angry. Burritos and pho are not fetish objects for white transplants to Columbus, you think. Besides, you and all of your friends know that it’s all about tacos, and the best ones come from a truck that chills in the parking lot of a King and Story liquor store, whose sole employee will machete a coconut right in front of you and mix the coconut flesh with cayenne and lime in a little sandwich bag and serve it up for $2.50. You know the family that owns the truck, and they frequently hook you up with free quesadillas.
All your friends are teachers, social workers or some kind of nonprofit employee. The younger ones are bike messengers or baristas. The older ones are art therapists. You have acquaintances who work in tech, but you don’t really ever see them and can’t relate to their lives. You are not in a labor union, but you have strong, positive feelings about them. Everyone you know is an artist of some sort. When you meet someone new, the first thing you ask them is what they’d ideally like to be doing.