In the Business for Too Long

I think I've been in the business for too long. I distrust everybody. I went camping last weekend, and as I'm walking back to the site from taking out some trash, a complete stranger walks up to me and starts making conversation.

CS: Well, I guess I'll stay on for another week.
What's his angle?
SV: Really? How long you been here for?
Maybe he's just making small talk....
CS: Well, since the last week of March.
What's his angle?
SV: Really?
CS: Yeah - got my RV parked here.
Maybe he's trying to make small talk. Guess I'll make small talk.
SV: Really? You in the permanent resident area?
CS: Naw. Parked over here. Pay by the week.
What's his angle? Time to hit eject.
SV: Hmm...
CS: Yeah - paying $120 a week.
Okay - really time to hit eject, but this is too intriguing. It is a holiday weekend.
SV: Really? That's dirt cheap compared to what I'm paying for a tent site per night.
Okay - really oughn't have said that. What's his angle again?
CS: Well, it is when you're still making a house payment.
Wow! Was that his angle?
SV: Well, gotta run.

Now, the guy was really probably only making small talk. He probably had no malicious intent, and was probably not even looking for a handout. Those not in the field, or who are able to not take work home with them probably would have had a nice conversation with the guy. Maybe my bravo sierra meter goes a bit too high...

Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.


  1. Unfortunately this is a common psychological artifact of working within information security. I call it the gift of paranoia. I've noticed it even within myself and that it tends to strain personal relationships as well. Also I've found we tend to lose the ability to distinguish between what's possible and what's probable. Maybe we need professional counseling. :)

  2. @jeremiah - Oh believe me, this isn't new. By those who know me best, I frequently get introduced to strangers with a standard disclaimer - "oh - don't worry about him. He's in security".

    If you find any professional counseling for us, let me know. Those closest to me would greatly appreciate it.