Thursday, August 2, 2007

Youth Wordz: "Randoms"

Last week I met a girl in her late teens who started to tell me about her job working in a five-star hotel. Her dad was standing nearby and leant into our conversation, with a wry smile, to suggest that I ask her what is the worst thing about her job .

Ms Ellipsis: What's the worst thing about your job?
Teenage Girl (rolling her eyes): Having to talk to Randoms.
Ms Ellipsis: Randoms?
Teenage Girl: You know, Randoms, people you don't

Tough problem for a person working in the hospitality industry.

The closest reference I've found to Random in this context is the Macquarie Dictionary's definition No. 7:

a fool; an idiot: that guy is such a random.

But this was used in the context of unknown. Or perhaps all "unknowns" are, by definition, idiots.

UPDATE: Further definitions of Randoms found here :

random: a dismissive description of an uninteresting and unimportant person... can also be used to describe an odd or amusing situation
Example: Person A: How was that party last night? Person B: Ehh,
it was was mostly a bunch of randoms. Or, What the hell was that? That was SO random!

random: An unknown person (stranger). Example: We met a few randoms at the party last night.

and also here: random


Bwca said...

Lucky, lucky girl to have employment with that as 'the worst thing'.

'Random' conversation, ie; with someone in a queue, is actually the most honest kind, where the participants have no knowledge of the other's faults or history.
Why would young people be wary of this? Because they were raised with that 'stranger danger' awareness that I wasn't?

fifi said...

I love this word, random, and all its uses!

To describe an unrelated or offebeat comment:
"That was random",
sort of seems as apt as anything else.

When talking to classes about Found Object Artworks, they seem to grasp the notion of collecting and assembling random objects,

(tho they snigger at my use of the word, cos I aint youthful.)

Ms Ellipsis said...

There is definitely a 'catchiness' to this term. Thanks for helping us understand the lexicon. Now I want to find out where this word started.

Manictastic said...

I love this blog, just discovered it. Random does seem the perfect word, it's just so random or arbitrary that it fits.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised she didn't adopt the AmE and combine it with AuE and say
"Like, having to talk to, like, Randoms"...

Anonymous said...

"Random" in the sense of "random person" (or "random gnurd," a variant spelling of the current "nerd") was current at MIT ca. 1968. Congratulations on its rediscovery.