I have to take my car in to get looked at tomorrow. It’s times like these when I really wish I had some inkling of how my car works. I mean, I know the general stuff. For instance, I know that oil and gasoline are somewhat important. That is why, about a month ago, when I started seeing spots of oil on the driveway, I was a bit concerned. Yes, a month ago. And it’s not that I wasn’t concerned about it, it was just that I didn’t have any money to fix whatever was wrong with it. Maybe if I wasn’t that worried about, say, eating and having a roof over my head… but whatever.

My brother is currently going to school to Learn About Cars. I realize that, for the most part, this is just another career choice for some kids. But to people like me, the kid might as well be going to school to learn how to Move Houses With His Mind, or Turn Raspberry Jello Into Gold. It’s all pretty much the same to me. And I really respect people that know a trade. I wish I did. It’s much easier to answer, “I customize cars” or “I’m a carpenter” than it is to explain my job to people:

Person: So what do you do?

Me: Well, I work in a grocery store… (at this point, everyone for some reason assumes that I am a bag boy)

Person (looking down their nose at me): So you like, bag groceries?

Me (not offended… yet): No. I um… well, you know all of the price tags on the shelf?

Person: Oh! You set all the prices for the store?

Me: Not exactly. I put the tags on the shelf, and fix mistakes.

Person: So you are responsible for what goes on sale?

Me: No… uh, corporate does that, but I do all kinds of other stuff, too…

Person: So you put up tags, and that’s all you do?

Me: Uh… no. I mean, I make signs, and we run reports and…

Person 2 (walking up to us): Hey, so what is it that you do?

Me: I’m a movie producer.

Person 1 and Person 2 (eyes perking up): OH! Cool!

I used think that I would just start introducing myself as a “writer” when people asked what I did for a living. But that would bring on a whole other set of questions (have you written a book? what magazine do you write for?) that would soon expose me for the horrible little retail worker that I am. People usually mean what it is you do for money when they ask you what it is that you “do”. If we, as a culture, were just allowed to name off any old thing that we enjoyed when asked what we “do”, then there would be a fair amount of people who would answer, “I clean house”, or “I play videogames”, or “I breathe.”

Hopefully, there won’t be anything that wrong with my car (read: inexpensive). But I don’t know. If you equate a car with a human body, it’s like saying my car has been bleeding everywhere steadily for a month.

I’m pretty sure they would put you in the hospital for that.