I sit next to someone on a long flight. I am introduced to someone at a dinner party. I attend a conference. Curious people want to know what I do for a living...
"Hi, I'm Dee Janelle with Simple Equine Teaching..."
The response is always the same. We shake hands and then there's that moment when the person tries to decide if they want to ask The Question...
I smile. I wait. And I watch them process. The horses have taught me to be observant and patient.
The facial expressions are interesting. Their eyes look away - up usually. The mouth works, maybe a slight smile, perhaps the crease of a frown, or a hand comes up to rub the chin, or a fingernail taps the teeth. I don't rush them. After all, it was an unusual introduction that requires some discussion. Maybe they're trying to decide if they want to take the time. It could be that horses don't interest them in the least. Hey, I get that! No worries on my part. Regardless, they're wondering whether or not they are genuinely interested enough to hang in there - all the way to the end.
If they return to me, I know what their next question will be.
"What is it you do, exactly?"
I go for the short answer - I don't want to hold them up.
"I teach people how to train horses."
The quick ones usually say, "Oh you're a horse trainer's trainer!" I laugh along with them. Sometimes, that's enough and they drift away. Sometimes though, the person will cock their head and give me the Victrola Dog Look. You know the one. These folks need clarification and want some answers.
For them, I settle in and see if I can maintain an interesting conversation.
And the best part is getting to meet new people and discover who they are and what they do and how they live their lives. I rarely see any of them again, but that doesn't matter. The time is always well spent - making a connection with a total stranger and enjoying that small space in time together.
So! How do you do? I'm Dee Janelle with Simple Equine Teaching. What do you do for a living?