PEOPLE WITH TIME ON THEIR HANDS - Complications Ensue
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Friday, February 17, 2006

Paris métro ticket folded into an X-wing fighter

The London Tube map, with stations replaced with anagrams of themselves that, somehow, sound even more English.

My doctor used to recommend I get a hobby. I have never had a hobby. In comparison to spending your time with kids and writing, both of which seem like fine ways to fend off death (or at least leave something of myself behind), hobbies seem sort of self-destructive -- like playing roulette in Vegas, something else I've never grokked.

Oh, intellectually I get the excitement of losing money in Vegas, and computer games suck me in from time to time (usually for a run of about four days), and in my previous marriage I found time to brew beer -- it was one of the few things that worked between us. But when I think of people crocheting, or spinning, or building scale models, I have the same gut reaction I have watching a movie scene where people chat in the tunnel while the train is hurtling towards them. Why kill time? There's so little of it.

But I'm perversely glad that someone has made an X-wing out of a couple of Paris metro tickets. Thanks to the internet for revealing the deep weirdness of the human race.

I am also perversely attracted to the work of Edward Tufte. Tufte is all about visualizing data in the clearest possible way, from subway maps to graphs to EKG's. If you are a graphic designer, his work is essential. I am not a graphic designer. I have utterly no use for Edward Tufte. I just like reading him. I am dying to read his upcoming book Beautiful Evidence.

So I guess that's a teeny bit of hobby-related program activities.

(By the way, I am in no way casting aspersions on hobbyists. I'm just explaining why I have trouble enjoying hobbies.)

3 Comments:

Off topic. I had the oddest dream last night that a 105 year old man was posing as Alex Epstein and had a fairly active blog. Spiked wasabi, methinks.

By Blogger MaryAn Batchellor, at 12:58 PM  

I'm not much of a time waster, myself. Having been diagnosed with cancer twice and been told by my doctors that I'd be lucky to see my 50th birthday, I live every day like it might be my last. I wake every morning with a plan on how I'm going to spend every waking minute of my day -- and I usually follow through.

Most of the time it involves "work" but since I absolutely love what I do, it's not really work. Then there are my hobbies, some of which I've turned into profitable side businesses. But there is one thing, one hobby that I have which is purely just for enjoyment, and that's making jewelry. I sometimes spend several hours making metal and bead necklaces, bracelets, brooches and earrings -- not to sell -- they're just for me to wear with pride. Why, just this week I made 3 pieces to coordinate with a few designer ensembles I purchased in January.

I guess an off-shoot of that would be my passion for fashion. Being 5 feet tall and 200lbs has its disadvantages when shopping for clothes. Very often I have to make drastic changes to skirts, pants and jackets just to get them to fit me correctly. Imagine taking the scissors to a $2,000 designer outfit...a little nip here, a little slash there...and then sewing it all back together looking flawless. I also do a lot of shopping in second hand stores and the Salvation Army. Most of those clothes don't fit right either, so snip-snip-sew-sew and voila! I've got $1,000 outfit custom designed just for me -- and all for the princely sum of $12.00!

Add to that my obsession with colour coordination. I often re-dye my outfits to match existing purses and shoes -- or repaint shoes and purses to match a jacket/pant/skirt combo. Last week I repainted three pairs of shoes and re-dyed two jackets. As soon as I finish posting here, I'm off to redesign a jacket and one pair of pants, make a necklace and matching bracelet to coordinate with an outfit that's been in my closet since last Fall, and then repaint a pair of shoes I bought for $2 yesterday.

I should be done around midnight.

KJC (who finds her obsessive-compulsive disorder very rewarding)

By Blogger Kelly J. Compeau, at 2:29 PM  

I think you're missing the point of many hobbies.
Some people like a break from their work or want to fulfill needs that their work doesn't provide.
Model Railroading allows people to create things just as your writing allows you to create things. They may not get paid to do it but it's just as enjoyable and they have full control of the process, unlike most writers.
You go to movies and watch at least some TV. Other's spend that time doing different things. Play video games or play golf. Is watching a movie better than playing a game? How about playing the piano? Some people knit while watching TV. They find working with their hands relaxes them and once again allows them to create something.
Hobbies aren't a waste. It allows people to be multifaceted.

By Blogger Scott Squires, at 1:56 PM  

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