Monday, April 13, 2009

Hobbies, Conversations and Nostalgia

“Let’s move one place on.” – Mad Hatter, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

I need a new topic of conversation. I need a discourse that doesn’t involve city planning, work related activities…”Stephen, how is everything at the city you work at?” or the predominant topic of conversation…”Stephen, how are the kids?” Work is fine, if a little repetitive and stale, but that’s why it’s work and the kids are fine. One talks a bit too much and the other likes teasing the first. I am on a search for a different conversation though. Not one to replace the previous two as they are inherent to the life that I have, but one that may be interesting to share, learn from and advance different ideas with other people.

What I need is an active hobby.

I’ve collected many things over the years, Videos, DVDs Comic Books, Star Wars Stuff, Books, CDs – now digital files, but many of these things have been transitory for the most part and not very interactive. I’ve gone to conventions and the like, but while I’ve been a collector and enjoy reading, listening and watching the media I’ve collected, I’ve never been at such a level that I’ve made that to the exclusion of everything else – or been able to make a larger connection to a collecting community other than a few friends. Many times I find other collectors either extremely too involved and narrowly focused or they have a tendency to not be able to communicate about anything else at all. Again, with some very specific exceptions.

The long and short of it is that I’d like to find a hobby that gets me out and involved with other people on a regular basis that discusses other things ancillary to the prime focus in addition to the hobby itself. I’d like it to be creative and active rather than passive (like most of my collecting hobbies are now).

I used to build and paint model aircraft. I soon figured out that particular hobby is not very compatible with small kids. My anachronistic B-17G (one I painted with Normandy Invasion Stripes – no B-17s were used in the invasion) was an early casualty in the child rearing aspect of our lives. One of my sadder childhood regrets was the accidental damage and then subsequent destroying of a balsa-wood Piper Cub that my father built. Only years later did I find out that my Grandad had flown real planes like that and my father had built it as memory for himself. I suppose I really hate that aspect of exuberance of youth without the emotional maturity to foresee the consequences of value or history. I disliked it in myself and my peers and now I have to hold myself differently for my own kids.

Speaking of nostalgia, my wife and I have very different opinions about it. I have a higher concentration of nostalgia for places and specific things. Meredith has nostalgia for people and experiences. I make emotive connections with a place – walking up the many stairs to the top of Mont St. Michel in France – woe to that blundering idiot of a fellow A&M student I was walking with who could not place himself in 13th Century France – while Meredith needs the interaction with people to hold onto those emotive memories.

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