Often used as a conversation starter and slightly more interesting than "What's the weather like outside?" this question is a great example of the importance we, as a society, place on paid employment. The question could, theoretically, warrant a wide variety of responses, yet it is generally assumed that the person asking the question wants to know what sort of work the respondent does.

Maybe next time someone asks "What do you do?", you should begin to talk about anything except work or study and watch their reaction.

The man sat down at the table and his lunch date, a business associate, smiled up at him.

Hey, how are you? Are you having a good day?

"OK," he said, "busy, but OK..." He was in a bit of hurry, and was studying the menu.

What do you do, - not here, not Work/work..I mean what do you do ..what is your life, what is your hobby?

"I write" he said, a little shy, looking away briefly..."its what I do, I write things."

hmm= interesting..what do you write? what kind of things?

"odd things, little stories, poems, lots of things..."

well, she said, give me something..tell me a story about me... She leaned forward, eyes bright-curious.

He turned his paper placemat over and he traced her hand with a pen-making one of those childlike drawings of a hand-supersize.

No, she laughed, not that kind of writing..I thought you meant writing...

"Shhh,"he said putting a finger to his lips...not looking up

and this is what he wrote in the drawing of the hand that he had traced around her hand:

These are the fingers that shake the hands of her clients-
thieves and kings.
These are the fingers that pull through her hair, morning and night
and throw the brush when it does not work out just so.
These are the fingers that tap the steering wheel when the music is right,
and get chewed when the traffic isn't.
These are the fingers that tap out the first 6 numbers on the touchtone, and then stop
hoping he will call instead
and wonder why he can't find the keypad, and her number
with his fingers

He scooted it across the table to her and took a sip of his iced tea

and she just sat there a long time-quiet.

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