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Gaea's Blog

Happy December the 8th!

It is coming up on that time of year when I will spend copious quantities of time with family members I don't see very frequently. This is all right - they're all very nice, and I like spending time with them. It just gets a bit awkward around the dinner table, when speaking with elderly relatives who are, to be blunt, not internetty people:

"So, [Gaea's sibling], what are you up to now?"

"Oh, I'm being a scientist! I work with animals, in a zoo. Remember? I took you there last week and you thought the flying squirrel might be dead."

"Fascinating! How about you, [Gaea's other relative of similar generation]?"

"Well, I had been teaching at suchandsuch High School, but I'm busy producing a great-grandchild now. See? See? Now you can stop nagging me!"

"Oh, how lovely! And Gaea, how about you?"

"I'm an Oceanmaster!" (said brightly, with the terrified grin of someone who knows what is about to happen).

"Oh."

At this point, they usually whisper to a family member who spends more time with me to find out if I'm not taking medication I should be taking, because it sounds like I have delusions of grandeur and think I can control vast quantities of water with my mind or something. After being assured that I'm as sane as any other person in my extended family (granted, this is not a ringing endorsement), they then try to work out exactly what I do for a living. This is a bit like trying to explain being an electrician to Henry the Eighth - they're well-educated and intelligent, they're just missing some vital frame of reference.

"I provide customer service for a game that people play with each other on the Internet."

"Oh? And what does that involve?" (They're gamely trying, here. It's endearing.)

"Well, they ask me questions, and I answer them. I also look into complaints that people are misbehaving."

"Oh... this is a real job, is it? Where is this company?"

"Well, they're based in San Francisco, but I work from home."

"Oh. Are you SURE this is a proper job?"

At this point I usually make up some tortured metaphor involving referees, reference librarians, and cruise directors, and try to distract them by asking questions about zoo-working sibling's most recent altercation with the ornery porcupine, while considering the fact that while my job may not be a traditional occupation, at least it has the distinction of being probably the only job available where people regularly beg me to chop off their limbs and poke their eyes out.

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