Hobby Hob-Nobbery

I’ve really been jonesing to write a post that is cohesive. Just something with a clear beginning, middle, and end, all on one topic. See how I set the bar really, really low for myself? A clear beginning, middle, and end. What kind of chimp can’t do that?

This chimp, that’s who. Not today. Just ain’t going to happen. Ahh, to set one’s sights so, so low and then not be able to follow through. My parents would be so proud.

So, NaBloPoMo doesn’t include the holiday weekend, right? Because, like, that’s a holiday. See my reasoning there? It all works out perfectly logically in my head.

Hey, as long as we’re talking about me sucking at things like cohesive posts and logical thought, you want to know something else I suck at? Listing my interests. Bet you didn’t even know that that was a skill. It totally is. You can test your skill by asking yourself this question: so what do you like to do? Find that question easy to answer, and you are an Interests-Lister. If you do what I do, which is say something like “um, I don’t know. Sit? I like to sit. Also, I like to walk around.” This means you are in my demographic. The interest-listing-challenged.

See, I was getting my hair did the other day, and I was with a new stylist. (The search for a stylist that does not intimidate me with floofy hipster cool, nor beat me to a pulp is still going strong). And this stylist was super perky and chatty. She asked me: “so, what do you like to do?” And me? What did I say? “Uh, I don’t know. Lots of stuff.”

Lots of stuff. What kind of doofus says that? The stylist then started asking me if I was interested in specific things, and it just so happened that everything that she asked me about was something I don’t do.

Her: So, do you like winter sports? Snowboarding, skiing?
Me: No. I have a really deep hatred for cold, so I never really got into that kind of thing.
Her: Oh. How about baseball? You a baseball fan?
Me: No, not really. I’ve never seen a game.
Her: Oh.
(awkward silence)
Her: You know, Seattle is really great though because it’s such a nice looking city that you can just have fun while drinking some coffee and sitting at a cafe.

Look at that. She’s trying to be all nice and tell me that it’s ok that I don’t do ANYTHING and that I can’t even list any sort of interests. She’s making it ok for me, the Hobby Retard. So kind of her.

I don’t want to be the Hobby Retard, really I don’t. But I think our society is set up to make all of us feel like, if we’re going to claim an interest, we have to be really, really into it. An aside: ha haaaa. Look at me, talking about SOCIETY. What a dork.

For instance, I have a small drawer in my home where I keep some nice paper, and some stickers, and a rubber stamp or two. When I feel like it, I might make a nice homemade card for someone on their birthday. Not every birthday card, but sometimes. To me, this is not enough of a part of my life to make me a “crafter.” I don’t feel like I can CLAIM that. Who am I, making a card two or three times a year, to list card-making as a full-fledged interest? The same could be said for painting, or writing, or hiking, or traveling, or baking, or yoga. These are all things I may do, here and there, when the mood strikes. I am not dedicated to these things. I may not do them or think about doing them for long periods of time. So are these things really hobbies of mine?

I look out there in the world and I see people really going full throttle on their hobbies and interests. I have a friend who always makes her cards. SHE is a crafter. I have another friend who trains for triathalons. SHE is a runner. I have this other friend, who I made a card for a couple of times, and he still asks me ALL THE TIME, “so how’s that card-making going?” This always makes me uncomfortable. What does he mean, how is it going? I know, I know, he’s just being nice and trying to make conversation, but still. I hate the thought of being one of those meat-eating vegetarian types, not really doing something but claiming that I do. Just doesn’t sit well with me.

Part of me thinks that this whole unsettled feeling I get around hobbies and whether I can claim them may just boil down to a question of stuff. It seems a big part of hobby-ing in our society (there I go again) has to do with the stuff that you accumulate to do it. I don’t have enough knitting stuff to really be a knitter. I don’t go to yarn stores and salivate over the merch. I don’t have enough painting stuff to really be a painter- in fact, I have three or four canvases that I just paint over and over again each time I want to paint. When I exercise, I don’t have special shoes, or outfits, or journals where I keep track of the times I go or how I did or what goals I have.

So what does that leave me with at parties when someone asks me what I like to do? I’m not sure. Maybe I should just try and be honest about the things I am dedicated to. The things I do think a lot about and have to do because I love them so much? Who says hobbies have to be things like knitting or photography?

Here is my new and improved list of my hobbies/interests: listening to people tell good stories either in person or via books, tv, movies, music or blogs; having a good meal whether I cooked it, you cooked it, or someone else cooked it; being observant about my surroundings; laughing; hearing something new; silent reflection; non-silent reflection; general thinky-ness; being around kind people; creating or looking at art or design; getting a good night’s sleep.

I’m going to try and bust this approach out the next time I’m at a party and someone asks me what I like to do. It may take me out of the Hobby-Challenged demographic and into the Weird-Lady demographic. But let’s face it, I’m probably in that demographic already anyway.

I’m out,
Librarian Girl

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20 comments

  1. he he he. I have the opposite problem. I’m a knitter, and I always wonder what people who don’t knit or have a hobby do with their time. Do you watch TV? Read? go for long walks? hang out with friends? Have a rockin’ night life? Inquiring minds want to know. LOL

  2. I like your approach. Can figuring out what book to read next be a hobby? I think so! I spend a lot of time doing that. Looking at my cat? Is that a hobby, cuz I spend lots of time watching her do her thing. I think one of her hobbies is watching me. And there’s thinking, you know, having ideas about stuff. Really, a hobby. Not doing anything, just sitting there, thinking. A fine hobby, yes.

  3. I think that’s a perfect list/idea, Librarian Girl. I’m like you – not whole heartedly dedicated to any one activity, but certainly not sitting around doing nothing. I’ve found myself answering the what-do-you-do-for-fun-question with: people watching, hanging out with friends, looking at architecture, sitting at the coffee shop for hours, exploring (neighborhoods, towns, local parks, hiking trails, beaches, etc). It sounds dorky to say, but it’s all something. Stuff. The art of doing something. Not nothing. Um. Yeah.

  4. I’m knitting something now, so I would talk about it (if asked) except it’s hard to explain what it is. I don’t have the knitting “bug” but I know enough how to make a new hat if I want to. I am like you, and wouldn’t want people to define me as a knitter. Knitters know how to do cables and to be honest, I’m just purling something. I forgot how to knit and haven’t looked at my xeroxes. Aside, that’s what I love about the library. Learned how to knit (or purl) from a book. This is just an example.To be honest, I avoided haircuts altogether for quite a while just because small talk is not my best skill. If I were listing skills, it would be near last. My current hair stylist doesn’t speak English as a first language, and doesn’t force me to have conversations about what I like to do, and that’s perfect.

  5. it was as if I was the one who wrote your list of interests, except about myself! general thinky-ness..observing my surroundings..sleeping..reflection–I think people who enjoy these things can’t be bothered with claiming typical, normal interests. We are a special bunch.

  6. I’m record saying of my major interests in life is staring at walls and/or humming. I also tend to list drinking tea and napping as interests. I agree 100% with this internet posting.

  7. I’m a great believer in not being tied to one particular ‘hobby’ at a time. Why not just go out there and do what you like, when you like? You’ve got to get to the end and say you did it up right!

  8. I have a whole room for my hobby (did you see my post yesterday?) but many times I’m not motivated to go in there and do anything. Honestly, I haven’t painted anything in several months. Sometimes my interests are watching TV, hanging at the bookstore, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that!

  9. I think your list is perfect. I was once called a Project Queen. I have enough stained glass, beads, candle making, scrape booking, cross stitching, exercise equipment and numerous other hobby related items that I want to open a store called “The Project Bag.” Come in and pick something out, take it home, put it on the counter, viola you have instanta hobby.

  10. When cornered, I’ve been known to lie, or pick something that’s genuinely of interest to me, but so obscure that no one will want to talk about it.”I like to read about epidemiology,” I’ll say. “And flower-arranging.”They just nod and wander off.

  11. I have a similar problem – I am interested in a wide variety of completely unrelated things, but nowhere near enough interested in them to be an “expert”.Or, if I am honest and tell people: well, lately I am really into reading about the effects of decomposition… or…I read a lot of obituaries and think about death really quite a bit…. well, then I’m not the most popular lady at the party.Of course, after reading your blog and checking out some of the people you have linked to, now I am very interested in discovering why librarians and knitters seem to be interconnected. Also why only girls seem to read your blog.

  12. um…you like blogging? i always thought that this thing that makes me more of a dabbler than a die-hard is what makes me a good public librarian. i don’t spend too much time on one thing so i know a little about a lot of things. i always have a hard time talking to the people cutting my hair. i had one woman who actually didn’t talk much and seemed rather introspective and bright. i loved her. she doesn’t cut hair anymore. 😦

  13. i’m the type to go out and buy all the supplies for any craft i’m dabbling in–my closets are bursting with stuff like a woodburning iron, an airbrush machine, sequins and bugle beads i’ll probably never use again. that doesn’t make me any more of a hobbyist than you are, it just makes me poor.

  14. I HATE that question. I can never think of anything relevant to say either, and I do knit and run. I mean, seriously – when was the last time you asked someone that? Isn’t it more normal to just kind of talk to the person and figure out what you have in common, or whatever?

  15. I agree 100%! Hobbies are kind of a bitch (busting out the swearing!) When I was attempting to craft a match.com profile (stupid match.com), I kept sounding like a lame-ass (more swears!) I have a full life but saying you like to watch movies, take naps, hang out with friends while drinking alcohol and eating food makes you sound like a boring little sloth. Just because I don’t make stain glass or guild baby shoes for fun doesn’t mean I’m boring.

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