Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Am Boring; the Burden of Small Talk

The other day, a new acquaintance asked me, "So besides writing, do you have any other interests?"

Uh... nope.

Sad, really. I have long sought after a hobby, but the truth is that very few things interest me. I write, I read, I watch TV, I play video games, spend time with friends, and that's about it.

My fiancee and I are both freelance writers. That means we gotta hustle all the time. We're both starting to make a living at it, but as I always like to say, "No one is going to push that boulder up that hill but you." And that means we work a lot. And, as I think I've mentioned before, we work from home. There's no office hours to protect you from that looming To-Do list.

Sometimes I feel like it is hard to connect to other people. We don't have bosses to talk about, or commutes, or office politics, or work place hijinks. Sometimes days go by without going out, which can make it difficult to talk about the weather. I don't watch sports. The burden of small talk falls largely on the other person.

There is one thing I enjoy. Banter. Good natured, quick witted banter. Now, I'm from Ottawa, and in Ottawa (at least the people I knew) banter largely replaced small talk. When I moved to Toronto, I assumed it would be the same. I'd go to parties and meet someone and make some kind of small joke... and get a blank look in response.

I'm putting together a new project with some fellow writers, and I suddenly realized that almost all of them are from Ottawa. Isn't that weird? I didn't plan it, nor do I go out of my way to meet Ottawanians. It just happens.

But there I go again, talking about work when I'm supposed to be talking about what I do when I'm not working.

We have this notion in our society that our work life and our free time are different beasts - even like lizards and mammals. Like we all still work in factories. Like Fred Flintstone, when the whistle blows, we go straight from the rock quarry to the Drive-in. But I think less and less of us organize our lives quite so neatly.

Which reminds me, I love Drive-ins. Does that count as a hobby?

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