“What do you do for a living” There is no question more hurtful, more aggressively intimate, more tedious than this one. Personally, I would rather discuss my bowel movements and have often thought of hitting them off at the pass with some of my own bizarre questions. I do not have job. In Sweden to say you are unemployed is unforgivable. The revulsion is always apparent and it lowers your social standing dramatically.
There is no dodging or dropping this question as an answer of unemployed demands a detailed explanation. “Stay at home mom.” Is not a valid answer unless your child is an infant. In any case they would immediately follow it up with “What did you do before?” “What job will you be seeking when you get off your lazy arse and return to work?” Swedish people do not generally work part-time and thus do not regard those with part-time employment in a very favorable light. In the future I hope to get a part-time job. Full-time employment is just not viable unless I can find an effective treatment. This question will no doubt plague me until I am in my 60s.
There is really nothing worse than explaining to a complete stranger that you are disabled and how that disability effects every facet of your everyday life. It is much too personal for a first time conversation. I have considered answering I am a writer but I imagine that they will want a recitation of my work, which my horrific memory prevents. Or better still “But what is your real job?” I doubt writer would fly in an extremely efficient, practical country. The only Swedish books I have seen are detective novels (and terrifying children stories) and if you have ever seen Swedish television it is hard to imagine poetry would even be considered a legitimate form of writing.
Another question I get asked frequently “Why do you only have one child?” Apparently I am single-handedly responsible for the population. I should answer because my vagina is not a clown car but alas once again I must explain that I have Epilepsy and with each pregnancy my condition worsens. “I do not want another child” is not optional and is considered selfish because any responsible parent should be generating children for the first child’s amusement. Babies are not toys!!! I do not work, how will I afford all these babies if I did have them? How will I care for them properly if in the process of having them I am further disabled?