Experts in Stuff Nobody Cares About
There are many interests and hobbies out there. In fact, I’d guess that most people engage in at least one activity in their free time. Also, most of these activities are probably quite normal, ranging from pursuits like weekend softball leagues and cooking classes to more solitary activities like reading novels or collecting trinkets while on vacation.
Every once in a while though, people emerge from the woodwork that undertake different kinds of pursuits – types of pastimes that place them in a very special category, one I like to call “Experts in Stuff Nobody Cares About.” These are people who have an passion for the fringe elements of life; for the minutia that normally gets overlooked; for the exquisite beauty of items and engagements that exist beyond the considerations of the normal world. To their disappointment however, they are the people who, like their pastimes, have a certain part of their lives buried-away by the passive disinterest of others.
Before anyone gets upset, please let me state that I speak from personal experience. I too, live in this place – a place where my hobbies and interests are kept behind closed doors, on basement shelves and expressed in conversation only to those that really, truly know me. From my perspective the hobbies I have are great, after all, who wouldn’t be fascinated with collecting religious paraphernalia or very specific retro video game consoles or the extension of human life through science and technology? The answer, apparently, is almost nobody. I can count on one hand the times friends and family have asked about my Scientology E-Meter, my Atari Jaguar or why I supplement with acetyl-glutathione.
I’m not alone however, as a quick scan of Used.ca reveals a legion of others, presumably in the same boat.
On UsedOttawa for instance, there’s a gentleman who has obviously spent years amassing a fine collection of miniature liquor bottles. Collecting over a hundred bottles, never opening a single one (amazing!) and neatly arranging them in a display case, this fellow takes pride in his pursuit. Sadly, the bottles are now up for sale and in my mind, this is because the booze sat alone. The guy loved his little bottles but with only a whisp of interest from family and friends, that love evaporated away like the liquor inside. Lucky for you though, his mighty collection can now be purchased!
In the prairies, the discovery is made that deep in the heart of Regina, lives a handful of people so passionate about “Foosball, Fooseball, Foozeball, Foozball” that they came together to both start a club and run how-to-play clinics. They advertise on UsedRegina and I hazard to guess that if this was thirty years ago, they would have never met one another. Foosball, as it seems, would have been relegated to basement matches between siblings.
Victoria is a hive of activity for “Experts in Stuff Nobody Cares About.” There are many unique people and pastimes but one that struck me as excellently peculiar on UsedVictoria is a group called the “Professional Organizers in Canada.” People so passionate about home and workplace organization that they’ve reached-out, found others and created an entire organization (pun intended). While the subject of organization is an important one and not a new concept, I still bet they have a hard time introducing organization as a hot topic during dinner parties. Thankfully, through the power of technology, they are more easily finding others to share their passion.
Still in BC but hunkered down near Vernon, is someone I can only imagine is a retired Navy-officer-turned-grandfather. This hobbyist has put together a massive, wall-filling collection of cigarette lighters and not just any lighters but specifically, Navy themed lighters. The photo on his UsedVictoria Wanted Ad, while awe inspiring, might also speak to a solitary hobby. Anyone with a collection that unique probably yearns for the day when someone, perhaps a grandchild, says: “Please, tell me about your lighters.” While that day may or may not come, rest assured that he probably connects with other lighter enthusiasts during his adventures on the world wide web.
So here’s the message, at least the one I take away from all of this: the scene for us “Experts” really is changing. No longer are we relegated to the fringe; to the outlying world of pastimes. Sure our friends and family still might not show interest, but others do and the internet has become the great equalizer. Sites like Facebook allow us to chat and strategize with fellow hobbyists, blogs provide knowledge-bases for expanding our own understanding and engagement and through sites like Used.ca, we are able to physically acquire the knick-knacks of our dreams, as well as meet up with others that “think we’re pretty neat too.” And best of all, these services don’t cost a thing.
How about you? Do you have any unusual or wonderfully bizarre hobbies?