A funny thing happened in Amsterdam last week. It wasn’t so much ‘ha-ha funny’ or ‘strange funny’ as it was ‘lie-awake-in-bed-contemplating-the-direction-of-your-life funny’. You don’t see that one a lot. ‘Ha-ha’ and ‘strange’ are the big players on the ‘funny’ pie chart. The ‘lie-awake-in-bed-…’ options are all lumped under ‘Miscellaneous’. But occasionally, they happen.
The funny thing in question happened aboard a squat little covered boat, near the end of a tour along the canals of Amsterdam. Our guide had been chittering happily away at us in (mostly) English for nearly an hour, when we turned back towards the dock. He stopped to thank us, and said:
“I’ve really enjoyed talking with you tonight. This is my one tour slot per week; this is just my ‘hobby job’”
“I’ve long been a fan of leading an uncomplicated life; lately, mine is starting to look like a Rube Goldberg contraption.”
That’s what got me thinking. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated quite a few of these ‘hobby jobs’; enough to sometimes make them feel like a vocation of their own. And it occurred to me that when your ‘hobby’ starts to feel like a job — or your job becomes more of a ‘hobby’ — then it’s time to do some serious thinking about what you’re looking for, exactly, and why. That means taking a step back, and some time away.
I’ve long been a fan of leading an uncomplicated life; lately, mine is starting to look like a Rube Goldberg contraption. And while there are certain elements I can’t easily simplify — unless the boss will let me take another few weeks away from the office, for instance — there are a few ‘hobby jobs’ I can cut back on for a while. Like this one.
I’ve been posting less around here lately, but there’s a fair mountain of nonsense floating around the archives already, and some recent milestones I’m quite proud of. In June, the site quietly celebrated four full years of existence. My only-vaguely-reliable but free-and-simple hit counting service claims that over 400,000 pages have been viewed in that time, and I recently penned my 1200th post. That’s a body of work right there.
A lumpy and disfigured body, perhaps, with a big ass and bird legs and scoliosis, but it’s still a body. Nobody ever said I write pretty some day.
What I’m saying is, it’s time for a break. For a little while, I won’t be adding anything new here while I get my feet back underneath me. How little a while? I’m not really sure. They’re big clumsy feet, and my balance has never really been all that good. I’m just about as much of a lithe ballerina in this analogy as in real life. Which is not much. Don’t let the tutu fool you.
So I’m not saying ‘goodbye‘, certainly; just pausing to help myself remember the difference between ‘job’ and ‘hobby’, and which bits of which it is that I’m supposed to be enjoying. Instead, I’ll say that I’ll see you again soon and wish you auf wiede-… uh, I mean, aff woodenshoe… no. Erf weinerschnitzel? Oof whatsyername?
Aw, fuck it. ‘Au revoir‘.
Stupid twisty German words, anyway.Permalink | 5 Comments