Who am I? This is not a rhetorical question, nor am I looking for answers. I came up against my profile as I showed it to a friend who wanted to see how the blogging thing all worked. I didn’t recognise the person the words referred to. The experience lasted a microsecond but in that moment there was a sensation as if a connection had gone or a fuse blown. Who she?
The idea that you are what you most habitually do is a reasonable one, though I have in mind a friend who worked as a temp, making ends meet by doing the mind-numbingly boring jobs that none of the permanent staff would touch.
“I file,” she said, when asked what she did. I always felt she carried this off quite beautifully with a kind of never-apologise-never-explain chutzpah that I didn’t possess. “I type” didn’t have the same ring to it and I would try to elaborate, which was a mistake. What we did wasn’t what we were, could never be what we were, though it ate up the precious days. Two evenings a week we went to A level Eng Lit night classes where she fell in love with the teacher and we learned Chaucer, Shakespeare, Blake - and that Keats had asked to be written on his tombstone the phrase:
“Here lies one whose name was writ in water”
which I liked, though I couldn’t have said why; the chameleon poet who didn’t want his name set in stone. Blogging profiles are fine because you can change and play with them, but there’s still the business of trying to establish an identity by listing occupations and preferences. It doesn’t touch on the mystery and essence of who one is, though I reckon the profile of the lovely Non-Working monkey (“unemployed, but with enough money to buy crisps”) comes pretty close.