Sedentary Man gets a hobby

I often josh about being hobby-free, which leads people to think I am uninteresting and lazy.

Allow me to rebut: I am not uninteresting.

But I don’t do much in the way of traditional hobbies. I don’t fish or bowl or knit or play a musical instrument or collect stuff.

I watch a lot of sports on TV. I spend way too much time on the computer. I read newspapers, magazines and books, books, books. These are all “pastimes,” in that time passes while I do them, but they’re not real hobbies.

This raises two problems. One, because I am Sedentary Man, my physique is becoming more and more like a bowling pin. Two, I don’t have a ready answer when asked, “What are your hobbies?”

Until now.

I’ve decided that watching movies can be a hobby. Yes, it’s more sedentary activity, but it keeps me fascinated and it costs money and time. I believe those are the official requirements for a “hobby.”

I love the movies. Always have. I love getting lost in the story on the screen. I love the shared experience of laughing along with my fellow viewers, thrilling to the action, secretly choking up over the weepy parts. I really, really love popcorn.

I can remember my very first big-screen movie. When I was 6 years old, my family went to see “How the West Was Won” at the Pines Drive-In in Pine Bluff, AR. (Guess what kind of tree grows in that area.) I was blown away, particularly by the moment when a fleeing pioneer catches a flying ax in the back. Nightmares for a week, but I was hooked on movies.

My mother regularly dropped me off at the Saturday matinee at the Sanger Theater, where several hundred children squealed so loud that it’s a wonder any of our eardrums survived.

I took my first date to a movie. Unfortunately, it was a horrendous horror film called “Last House on the Left” (the first one) that left us both shaken rather than stirred. That’s when I learned to check out reviews BEFORE seeing a movie.

My senior prom included a middle-of-the-night movie (that romantic classic “Young Frankenstein”), so we all had a chance to sit still for a couple of hours and sober up.

I took film classes in college, and have even taught some at the university level. Any excuse to watch movies.

Movie-going changed over the years. Drive-ins mostly vanished and indoor theaters went multi-screen. After the advent of the VCR, people started watching movies in their living rooms and many forgot how to behave in a theater.

Mostly, I watch DVDs at home like everyone else. We subscribe to one of those services that deliver DVDs by mail, and I watch the movies on the sofa with a big bowl of popcorn, or while sweating on a treadmill in the garage so I can stay in shape (“bowling pin” being a shape).

I spend many hours arranging and rearranging my “queue” of hundreds of upcoming films so I get the right blend of serious films and comedies and action movies I’ll be able to hear over the whirring treadmill. Monitoring this flow of movies has become my obsession.

I’m collecting a lifetime of movie experiences. And that qualifies as a hobby.

Pass the popcorn.

1 comment:

cdillon said...

Hey, at real universities in Iowa City and Albuquerque I gravitated to the collegial brains who believed that a curriculum could be forged from movies! I loved it! Real world job skills be damned. I'll just keep feeding my imagination.