Talking to Strangers
Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003
In my apartment this morning...

Ring... Ring.... (Actually, that's not true. This is the sound my phone makes.)

Just as it gets to the truly funky part, I get to the phone, carefully unplug it from the charger, check the caller ID (614? where's 614?), and even more carefully press in on the scroll wheel to pick up the call without accidentally scroll-clicking them to voicemail, which I manage to do fully a third of the time. "Hello?"

...pause... "So what kind of cheese do you like?"

It's a man's voice, which tells me almost nothing. I'm bad at recognizing voices over the phone, especially since I've been using the phone markedly less over the past several months, and moreover since my phone has a cruddy speaker, barely better than the loudspeakers on aircraft carriers that make anyone on the PA sound like a cross between God and Roz from Monsters Inc.

In short, I have no idea who I'm talking to, but this is familiar territory.

I immediately reply, "Actually, for the past few days I've been taken with this Amish Butter Cheese." Not only is this absolutely true, (and trust me, the cheese is great, and is remarkable as it's a Jack variant that you don't get tired of. I mean it. Rachel and I could have eaten a whole bar in one go, but we stopped ourselves), as I was saying, not only was this true, but I didn't even go on to elaborate on the Irish White Cheddar we'd found last month, or the Dutch Havarti we'd just broken in to last night, but is already a favorite.

Details such as these are reserved for the closest of friends, or at least people whose names I know... or who read my weblog, I suppose.

The guy paused. I think he thought he had me. Much like Ammy's collect call from love, my mystery telephonic compadre probably thought his opener was the punchline, and didn't expect a rejoinder. I could feel his brainwaves over the phone, thinking: Does this guy really like cheese that much? Is he a freak? ...a beat passes... "I was searching the web this week and I came across your resume. I'm uh, a recruiter for [a fortune 500 company] and we're looking for an interaction designer with a strong participatory design background..."

The funny bits were when he told me he'd wished he'd read my weblog earlier, since then he wouldn't have wasted a phone call on Micah, as he'd have known that Micah just accepted the eBay job. I made a short list in my head of people he might want to talk to, and before I could share it he told me the other people he had already contacted from my program, matching hit for hit. I told him I'm already signed on for Google, and we bantered a bit anyhow, talking about the Edsel, the dot-com bust and the revitalization, etc.

The other funny bit is that it's the fourth recruiter contact I've received in the last two days, after no such attention for the previous month. I've got no interest in anywhere else, as I've found my perfect place, but it's amusing nonetheless. I've considered taking my resume [PDF] down, but I've found it to be useful in a number of occasions having nothing to do with getting myself a job. Call it a formalized extended bio (which reminds me, my bio is terribly out of date. I've got to update that thing...) or call it a template that at least a dozen people I know have used when redesigning their own resumes, but having recruiters call still gives a little tingle, a little 'might have been' window into a parallel universe that I can feel spinning off when I tell them thanks but no thanks.

A few days ago I had this whole epiphany. Actually, it came over the course of several days, in a few quick moments, so I suppose it's more of a stuttered epiphany, if the definition of epiphany can be stretched enough to accommodate that. It's about work, joy, and the circus. I'll try and write about that next time.

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Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox