What do you do in this city?

“What do you do in this city?” he asked about 10 minutes after we first met.

I was driving and he was the fellow passenger. He had leapt to the front seat while my friend sat in the back.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of his bold move, but I took that he was curious in starting a conversation with a stranger.

So I posed the question back to him—”what do you mean? are you looking to know why I do what I do or what I do?”

He explained that he asked because he can often tell what a person is like when they try to cross town. He claimed that there are people who take the main throughfare because they want to people watch. I pointed out that perhaps many are conformists—that they are uncomfortable with something radically different; perhaps when they discover a shortcut, they may feel uncomfortable and so return to familiarity. We are creatures of habit, I stated.

Then I returned to the question. In some way unlike most, I challenged the question rather than answering with—my job, the general habits of my life. I wanted to know the motivation to give a good answer than the ones that most will give.

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