Back in the olden days, when I lived in Tucson, I worked at an auto insurance agency.
It catered to people who needed to purchase insurance to comply with the state minimum requirement, but did not have a good record with insurance (either due to not paying it consistently or not have a good driving record).
I was what I liked to call an unlicensed agent. I did the same work the agents at the office did. I just didn't sign my name to any of the policies.
I gave people insurance quotes. I took applications, both by phone and in person. I processed payments. I referred customers to the claims department when accidents occurred.
So I came in contact with people all day, every day.
I don't know about you, but when I have a routine, I can sometimes make people think that I am truly interested in our discussion. Especially when I am not.
This was SO the case with my job as the unlicensed agent.
As I took applications, I had to ask people about their jobs. Since it took about 15 minutes to complete the application and the employment part came up pretty quickly, I could usually count on talking about their occupation for the remaining time.
Do you like your job?
Oh, I have a friend who does that, too!
How long have you been doing that?
Now, for the most part, I could convince them that my questioning was genuine. There were a few jobs that I didn't pull it off well, though. You know...jobs like "entertainers" (which was the politically correct term for exotic dancers).
Sometimes, when the person had a particularly interesting job, I would really get into the Q&A session and jabber on for much longer than the application process should have taken.
But other times, my mind would be on cruise control and I would say the first thing that came to mind.
Like, "Oh! My roommate is an illegal alien!"
To the Border Patrol agent.