Spare time activities? Now there’s a question

20 Sep

Someone asked me the other day, ‘what do you do in your spare time?’, and I was struck dumb. I found it almost impossible to conjure up hobbies that made me sound like someone worth having a conversation with.

Obviously top of the list is ‘hanging with the kids’, which in my view does make me worth having a conversation with, but that’s more a ‘state of being’ as necessary to me as breathing, than a hobby or pastime.

More usual occupiers of my spare time are driven by my (mild) obsession with neatness – everything in its place leads to a calm mind – and my infrequent yet focussed bouts of excessive cleaning. I didn’t think that ‘reordering the magazine pile in the downstairs loo’, ‘cleaning the fold in the table’, ‘refreshing the toilet brushes’, ‘applying Draino’, ‘bleaching the bathroom tiles’, ‘trying to find the source of the stench in the utility room’, or ‘blitzing spiders’ (this is an abridged list, believe me I could go on) were quite the ideal conversational starters.

It did, however, make me wonder what on earth I do do in my spare time. This blog I write on public transport, on my trusty BlackBerry, so while I guess strictly it is in my spare time, I am on my way to do something else, which classifies it as dead time for me, which Must Be Filled. I read, but that’s in bed when I’m getting ready to sleep. I bake, but usually only in response to demand.

I am therefore going to keep, for the next week, a Spare Time Chart, to identify exactly what it is that I do when I’m not doing things that have to be done.  I am also going to attempt, by doing this, to define what exactly ‘spare time’ is. So, watch this space…

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