As you can probably tell from reading this blog over the past few weeks, I have recently transplanted myself from California–where I was already a transplant–back to New England, where I am a transplant for a second time. Ah, the nomadic life of someone who doesn’t just want to live where they’re from.
Living in the Bay Area for seven years gave me a fraught relationship with nature. Northern California boasts one of the most breathtaking, verdant landscapes in the country, but it’s always cold. Which means you really want to get out in it, but–if you’re like I am and have to thrust your feet under the butts of friends and loved ones in order to warm them– the bone chilling damp often makes the task of enjoying the sprawling vistas of mossy redwoods nearly impossible 90% of the time. The cold of Northern California is a deep, deep cold.
I’ve happily arrived back in New England in the midst of their yearly “sort of almost summer,” which means it’s 90 degrees one day, 60 the next until the end of June. There is no bone chilling damp on the 60 degree days, though. As such, I’ve been driving by various ponds and lakes peppered with people doing wholesome outdoor activities, like fishing. Fishing, you guys! What a boring, boring hobby!
To be honest, I’ve never been much of a sportsman, but all of these scenic enclaves filled with people partaking of slices of Americana pastime pie have gotten me interested in good clean fun like hunting, fishing, and… well not camping, but some third thing along those lines. Hiking, maybe. MAYBE.
[Internal process alert] Since I’m not actually a sportsman, I quickly lose interest in the actual activity and instead get interested in things you could theoretically wear while doing these activities. THEN I get obsessed with how fashion photographers have managed to turn particularly unfashionable hobbies into absurdist photo editorials with models who look really odd in natural settings. Models are for cities, not for streams and rivers.
As per usual, dissonance is my favorite thing.
Here are some of my favorite new hobbies I will likely never try, as presented in fashion editorials.
As stated above, fishing is a really boring pastime. I wasn’t raised doing such wholesome things as tricking an animal into stabbing its mouth with a sharp hook, keeping it alive in a confusing bucket for a while, then decapitating it, gutting it, and skinning it. This sounds like I don’t eat fish, but I do. I love them. And I actually don’t have a problem with the process–you have to kill food SOMEHOW, and I need a high protein diet. Anyway, because I wasn’t raised going fishing, the one time I tried it when I was 12, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever done. My uncle kept telling to stand still and quiet. What kind of 12-year-old needs to be alone with her thoughts? I just stood there, quietly contemplating puberty, waiting to kill something. The killing never came. Hours of just sitting around. Whatever.
But I would totally go fishing if I could wear these weird clothes and poof out my hair!
I have recently decided to take up archery. I like physical precision and building things. Archery is a great combination of these things. You have to be so physically precise and you get to make your own arrows, as well as take care of your bow. If that weren’t cool enough, you get to shoot things. I’m not into the easy-peasy crossbows–don’t counterbalance my shot, bow! I want to get superhero-style good with just an old fashioned wooden bow. Anyway, eventually I’d like to take my bow and arrow into some woods and hunt and kill my own Thanksgiving turkey. It seems like if I eat turkey, I should be able to look it in the eye when it dies. Otherwise I should possibly not eat turkey.
There’s been a lot of interest in farming lately, what with San Francisco, Portland, and Brooklyn being so talky-talk about urban farms. Arguably, farming is more of a livelihood than it is a “hobby,” but who am I to say? I’m no farmer. I do have a giant organic vegetable garden in my backyard now, though.
Farmers of America! Look how you COULD be dressing if you weren’t so “sensible.” Listen to fashion!
As you might be able to tell from this final hobby heading, I’ve squarely veered into a world of my own, where falconry is representative of an Americana-style pastime. Just let me live in this world. What could be more awesome than training a bird of prey that is likely more intelligent than you are to leave your arm, kill something, and bring it back to you for dinner? That makes all those hairy, super masculine hunting guys seem like wimps for taking the easy way out with a shotgun. Hey, hunting guys; get some falcons, nerds!
As I expected, looking at all of these weird fashionable takes on outdoors sportsman hobbies quenched my thirst for doing it myself. It’s the accouterments and potential for bizarre outfits that I really like. I don’t need to stand around waiting for lazy trout to suicide themselves on my line. I just need to feel like maybe I’d have somewhere to go if I ever decided to drape myself in pelts and pretend to survive by the instincts of my animalistic wits.