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My husband is always trying to get me to “find a hobby.” When I tell him that I have several hobbies –writing, reading, gardening, knitting – I am quickly informed that these things are not hobbies. These are things that people do right before they die of old age or more likely die of boredom from their lame hobbies.
I look around at the amazing people I know and so many are doing all these unbelievable things. One dear friend just published a novel. Others are traveling, traveling, traveling (which I really, truly love but cannot do right now with the tiny people.) Some golf, some fish, some give birth to entire basketball teams. I have several friends who run marathons or are triathletes. And, I would totally be a triathlete – except for all that running and swimming and stuff. I hate those things –which kind of gets in the way of my triathlon career. Wait! There's still biking...
I inherited a Trek from my husband when he upgraded to a better bike so we could find a hobby to do as a family. There are so many walking trails and bike paths here – we might as well take advantage of them! I totally rocked a bike in high school (since I had no car coupled with a strong desire to get the hell out of Dodge). Plus, there has to be a reason for the adage “It’s just like riding a bicycle,” right? I strapped my baby into her seat complete with helmet that looks like a watermelon (and totally matches our outfits!). I mean, one must look chic and stylish while gallivanting around the countryside. I put my hair in a cute side ponytail that fell perfectly below the helmet onto my shoulder to wave in the breeze as my personal hello to those I pedaled past. Pink capris, pink plaid sneakers, a jaunty shirt complete the ensemble. Maybe I'll even bike to the farmer's market the next town over and buy fresh cut tulips! I'll put them in a basket and whistle songs from the Sound of Music while handing strawberries back to Emmeline. Our cheeks will be pink from the breeze and lungs exuberant from the fresh air.
So excited to have finally found my new husband approved hobby, I threw one capri’d leg over the bicycle and began pedaling. And wobbling. And shaking. And panicking that I was going to tip over with my Fabergé Egg daughter in the seat behind me which is making me wobble even more which makes me panic even more. My husband zips by at about 1,000 mph with Lena on a Trail-a-bike pedaling behind him and singing some Lady GaGa song on the top of her lungs. About 10 horrifying minutes later I made it to the end of the road (about 250 feet from our house). My cute pony tail now a nest of dreadlocks, the helmet askew on the side of my ear. My pink capris covered with chain grease from getting on and off the bike seat – trying to avoid plummeting us to our certain deaths off the ginormous ledge on the side of the road (also known as the sidewalk). My hands have tattooed their death grip permanently on the handle bars. The shade of green I am wearing on my face does not even match my cute plaid sneakers - embarrassing! I get off the bike in front of my husband and daughter (who barely notice because they’re doing jumps off the sidewalk and trying to do burnouts with the tires). I am shaking so hard that I can barely lift my leg over the bike to get off. I catch my preppy kick on something and almost knock us all to the ground. I somehow manage to turn the bike back around and walk towards the safety of home. My husband and daughter speed away, waving and yelling about going to get a bell so they can avoid hitting hazards in the road (like me.) Tour de France - out.
I do enjoy going to the gym. But, it’s not for the euphoria of working out that some people feel. Mostly I feel very ugly, embarrassingly sweaty and like Wheezy on Toy Story 2. But, I like those feelings WAY more than feeling like I need to stuff my muffin top into Spanx, covered by a tank top and a billowy shirt then hidden behind a lobster bib. And possibly a life vest. The gym is the best people watching place ever. Not the people actually putting in time and effort for a good work out. They are motivating and all – but they mostly make me feel bad about the fact that I cannot untie the knot in my shoelaces with my teeth while still wearing the shoes, in my Lululemon tiny spandex outfit, after I just got back from a brisk jog to Nova Scotia. There are some of the most amazing sights to behold at the gym. Like the woman who dresses in a white wool coat, mittens and scarf to take Zumba. I believe my abs get a great workout just holding in my obnoxious laughter at watching this. Until I get my God smack for being petty and trip over air and knock over the I Heart Zumba lady shaking her corpulent rump trying to out dirty dance Jennifer Grey. (Or maybe it’s her God smack. Not sure). Oh…so many wonderful, shockingly disturbing things go on at the gym. But, that’s for another post.
My brother shoots amazing photography while he hikes and camps. The most “outdoorsy” I get is when I have to creep into the bushes in the backyard to collect a wayward toy. And, for that entire 30 seconds of retrieval I’m pretty positive that a poisonous spider or rattlesnake lies waiting in the California aster – calculating, fangs dripping in anticipation for the perfect moment to sink its teeth into my thigh (which would be soooo much stronger and probably deflect poisonous weapons if I were a triathlete or even a cyclist – which I am not). I’m always a little amazed when I survive such a dance with the devil. And, it’s only in total desperation that I take the death defying risk – because I would rather take my chances tangling with a black widow than listen to the meltdowns of a toddler who cannot live another second without the plastic spatula that she threw back there while apparently embracing her inner Swedish Chef. Therefore, climbing El Capitan in Yosemite is out. And camping…do not get me started. I do not believe there is enough bandwidth in this blog site to hold my ranting about camping. Which I was tortured with for many years of my life and will never, ever do again. With bugs. And rocks. So many rocks. I mean, what am I– the Princess and the Pea? I can assure you no royal title came to me by sleeping on boulders (although I do believe my stepmother told me told me to stop acting like a Queen Bitch…).
So, I finally decide to ask my husband what constitutes a hobby in his mind. He looks at me like I have just informed him I have decided to breed tarantulas in our garage. “Motorcycles, dirt bikes, four wheelers. You know, fun stuff?” Oh. It’s so clear to me now. If the potential for death during an outing is not present, then it is clearly not a viable hobby. But, I've tried his style of hobbies. I really wanted to like being on a motorcycle. But, I quickly learned that I cannot wear cute shoes, cute coats and it hurt my butt. A lot. Dirt bikes and four wheelers - way too dirty (I mean, hello! It's called a DIRT bike). I've decided that with my considerable lack of grace, endurance and bubble wrap - a more sedentary hobby is really more up my alley (speaking of alley - bowling is out too, broke my finger at Kingston Bowl in high school). I'm back to reading. And writing. And with the beautiful California weather, gardening. But maybe I'll try something super daring - like planting Venus Fly Traps or reading a book about the gangs in Los Angeles. When I inform my husband of this hobby ephiphony he tells me that I'm "a woman on the edge. The edge of Wuss Cliff." Yup. And that's why I married him. Every day is like living in a Hallmark card. Now, please excuse me so I can catch up on the latest Bloods v. Crips mystery novel...
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