December 18, 2008

Misinterpreting that Blank Stare

I helped chaperone a Student Government trip yesterday for the Middle School as Mr. T is in the organization. I had a lot of fun and they are a great group of kids.

In my car I had Mr. T and two little girls, whose families I know, but not well. Mr. T likes both of these little girls a lot... as in thinks they're wonderful and respects them immensely.

So the little girls sat in the middle row of the asexual Mom-mobile and Mr. T sat in the back. The one girl asked me what my badge was that hung from my rear view mirror. When I leave work, I hang my badge, which is attached to a lanyard, from my rear view mirror so I don't forget it next time I work.

The following conversation ensued, to the best of my recollection.

Girl 1: Mrs. L, what's that hanging there?

Me: That's my badge from work.

Girl 1: You have a job?

Me: Yup. I work in the National Defense industry and I have to badge in to get into my building as well as my office.

Girl 1 and Girl 2 gave me blank stares. I interpreted it as they're not getting it.

Me: Ummm, National Defense. I work for a Defense Contractor. I work on military aircraft.

Still the blank stare. I was a bit at a loss...

Me, continuing: The such and such airplane. That's my project...

There is NO expression from either girl. They are literally blank faced, staring.

Now I'm confused. Had they never seen my aircraft on TV? On the news? The boys always say, "Hey! Yeah! I saw that on the History Channel!" or something.

Nothing. I got nothing.

So I took one last stab.

Me, deep breath: It's a jet. I'm working on the back end right now. You know when a jet goes super fast and fire shoots out the back? That's the part I'm working on. Its called the nozzle.


So I gave up.

Finally Girl 1 said: Wow. My Mom just folds laundry.

Girl 2 piped up, "Yeah, mine too..."

And for some reason that made me laugh.

Posted by Boudicca at December 18, 2008 07:29 AM | TrackBack

That IS funny.

And at the risk of sounding sexist, I think it would be hard for most moms, or dads for that matter, to top it. Folding laundry, selling insurance, working for a newspaper or whatever just doesn't sound nearly as cool as "I work on military jet engines."

Posted by: George at December 18, 2008 08:43 AM

So the blank stare was more of a "damn!" than a "wha?" *snicker*

My kid just likes me to go away to conventions and bring him free crap. . . Oh, and I don't fold laundry.

Posted by: oddybobo at December 18, 2008 10:00 AM

my cousin is a stay at home mom. her daughter, the youngest with 2 older brothers, assumed she'd never have to go to school or anything since she was a girl. that was a few years back.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at December 18, 2008 10:50 AM

What George said - really... :)

Posted by: Richmond at December 18, 2008 11:56 AM

While they were in the midst of blank starage, you could have really dazzled them with, "And, when I'm not working on jets, I'm one of the dancers on 'Dancing with the stars.'"

They each would have put their moms on E-bay.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at December 18, 2008 03:48 PM


Too funny!

Posted by: Carmen at December 18, 2008 03:54 PM

Exactly, it was the blank stare of assimilation. They were trying to process the information as well as being surprised by the answer.

I interpreted it completely wrong... a bad on my part... as being completely clueless as to what I was talking about. The entire time I was thinking, 'Ok, i lost them when I said National Defense'. My standard reply when someone asks me what I do is simply, 'I work for a defense contractor'. Then I thought, "Oh, they've never heard of this airplane..." and with each step, the blank stare, I thought, "I need to simplify this one more time..." and instead they were getting it the ENTIRE time. They just didn't know what to say.

With the boys... I've worked with a lot of their fathers, believe it or not. Boys reactions are usually, "COOL!" Girls I'm finding are more stunned that you can do something besides be a homemaker.

But, I need to sit down and have a talk with both those girls now... and explain to them that what their Moms do is THE MOST IMPORTANT job. I was laughing at the entire scenario in the car, and was stunned as well... it is time for me to set the record straight for them.

There is nothing more important than running a family. Nothing.

Posted by: bou at December 18, 2008 04:05 PM

I'm imagining their dinner conversations.

"Hey mom. Mr T's mom works makes fire come out of the back of jets."

Posted by: Sissy at December 18, 2008 08:37 PM

Well, Bou ... you do have to make that point to them. Still ... folding laundry? Making jets fly? Not too much of a choice there!

Thanks for the laughter, though.


Posted by: George Smith at December 19, 2008 04:31 PM

I've got a daughter. I think Mr. T would be an excellent chaperone. Heh.

Posted by: Cappy at December 19, 2008 06:36 PM