02 July 2014

Do not say the word hobby

Recently I was at a party during which a Nice Person was trying to drag small talk out of me, exhausting for both of us, and I began to feel sorry for her that she ended up next to me. She asked if I had any "hobbies," causing me to blurt in a near-autistic response: "WHAT?"

Before being retired nobody ever asked what I did, and if it came up that I was a teacher of art, that was the end of it. Nobody wished to know more. And now, suddenly, people are mildly curious: what are you doing?

And I am like:  you didn't care before. why bother now?

To answer the question nicely, I should have said "There is a lot of space in my days now that didn't exist before, although I was just half-time when I was working and already an adept daydreamer and time-waster, one foot already in the Lazy Room, walking the dogs and studying the sky above."



Instead I told her that I photographed my Barbie dolls. I suppose that was a sort of test, which she passed-or at least she did not back away- and then talked to me for another agonizing 30 minutes, in which I found out she had a friend just like me, and a partner that preferred his boxer to her.

Anyway. What's up with asking about "hobbies?" Isn't that an antiquated term? I don't like that word. Never ask anybody that! Even if they collect stamps, because it isn't a hobby, it's an interest, or better yet a passion. I like it that some people are passionate about stamps, and they should never have to call it a hobby.

30 comments:

  1. Reading this, I sound so mad. Not really that mad, just somewhat puzzled.

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  2. I really can't get too excited about hobbies either and suppose it's because I don't really care. For me, I guess it has to do with thinking of people who spend too much time in Hobby Lobby. However, I do find your "interest" in Barbies intriguing but your link told me I have no access to the Barbie photos.
    Not mad at all btw.

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  3. That was surprisingly hard to fix, Rubye, but the link now works. Thank you!

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  4. Also I would not be caught dead in a Hobby Lobby these days.

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  5. I am no good at small talk and that is why I ask personal questions if I am sitting next to someone. I would ask what they are doing these days...but now I am going to ask about their passions and hope they don't think I am coming on to them. I cannot talk sports and weather is a real bore.

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    1. Haha! Yeah, maybe don't use the word "passion?" Too over the top for most of us Nordic types. But asking specific questions is great. "I see you're carrying a camera. What kinds of pictures do you like to take?" Or "Sony makes cameras?"

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  6. The energy is so bizarre this summer, it surely is. Asking about hobbies is a time honored topic of small talk. Like you, it is nearly impossible for me to banter in this way. I am so uncomfortable. I used to bluff my way through such conversations, but as I get older, I get less interested in behaving appropriately.

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    1. It is a bit silly for me to get lathered up about an innocuous word like "hobby." No offense was intended for sure.
      Funny how behaving appropriately changes with age. You get a fresh passport for inappropriateness as the years go by.

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  7. Like you and Tabor, I'm no good at small talk (although I imagine we three could spend hours talking together). I do like "interest" rather than hobby; it denotes involvement rather than merely filling time with fluff. Now that I'm retired, I get asked what I do with my time and I ask in return, well, how much time do you have to listen?

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    1. Pauline, Reya & I both wished you could've joined us for lunch last fall. It could still happen!

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  8. I find myself wishing there were *like* buttons I could click on with these replies, because I agree with nearly everyone above!! My mind went directly to Hobby Lobby when I read your intro, Kerry, and didn't want to go there. But I did, and am glad it was about conversations on finding your passion. I remember the horrible cocktail parties when we lived in Moscow - I'm not comfortable with small talk and I HAD to do it; not only with ordinary people but with DIPLOMATS!!! Ever feel really dumb?!! But yes, in my retirement I have time to really dig into my hobb....oops! I mean, my passions or interests of knitting and reading!!! Thanks for giving me permission of a sort!!

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    1. Maybe some day blogger will add "like" buttons; it wouldn't surprise me.

      My gosh I would not want to attend cocktail parties like that, what a version of hell.

      What are you knitting right now? Reading what?

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  9. I haven't shopped at a Hobby Lobby (and then mostly just for fabric) since they started that nonsense. and who the heck has time for hobbies anyway when time is filled with so many things to do. anyway, I was almost paralyzed when I was younger and unable to carry on 'small talk'. but I've learned how over the years.

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    1. There are no Hobby Lobbies in this neck o' the woods, so no problem there. Just Michael's, and I don't like going there for anything.

      Art openings are sometimes awkwardly full of small talk, but depending on who is attending it can be quite interesting. Most artists I know are introverts, and when introverts decide to talk, it gets good.

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  10. I had to think about this a bit. It sounds like the word "hobby" is more offensive to you than the small talker asking about what you enjoy. Then I stopped to think about how I feel about photography, and though it is indeed my hobby, "interest" and especially "passion" sound so much more appropriate.

    Small talk can be agonizing. Can I please join you, Tabor and Pauline in Pauline's imagined get together?

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    1. Yes! Join us!

      I shouldn't make such a big deal about this word "hobby." But I just detest it! It feels demeaning. Yet at the same time, my Nordic reticence flinches when asked what my passions are. With me, you have to start by asking about Ed & Reub, the dogs. Then I breathe a sigh of relief and talk dogs.

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  11. you made me laugh. i take no offense to the word 'hobby'.

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    1. You are one of the most difficult people to offend, twg. Seriously.

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  12. I like that alternative: passion. Great post. I wish I'd been at that party, although I wouldn't have asked you about your "hobbies"! :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Cuban, you would have been a lively and welcome guest at the party. :)

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  13. I am not good at small talk. But, I do consider my birding a hobby. At least I think it is, I guess? Do you really photograph Barbies? Have a happy weekend!

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    1. I want to be a birder. Must work on that.

      Well, I don't photograph Barbies all the time; that would be weird. However they're much much easier to photograph than, say, birds, who flap about all the time.

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  14. Oh me oh my! I won't ask if you consider blogging to be a hobby. /wink/

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    1. haha! Oh go ahead. Ask me. I'll just bop you on the head with an umbrella. :-D

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  15. I am passionate about everything I choose to allow into my life. If I'm not, I boot it out the door, including agonizing small talk. ;)

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    1. All or nothin' now THAT'S the spirit. Yeah.

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  16. sometimes when you talk/write it is almost like hearing myself! Scarey. lol

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    1. Oh nooooo, there are two of us :-O

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