in which carrots mentions the giant mirrored armadillo

It was an eventful week here at the Houston headquarters of Carrots and Co. It began with an epic moment for Danny, who sank his first hole in one at Wildcat. It ended with my campus visit, which I am deciding to dub successful. How successful it was according to the hiring committee will be revealed in time.

I will note, before their Final Decision is made, that the committee was kind and welcoming. Also, they like puns, which I respect. I will be thankful to them even if they don’t let me bring home the metaphorical puppy. Early in the visit, they told me that, when someone asked me that eternal campus visit inquiry — “So, do you have any questions?” — I should feel free to say no. This made me feel immediately at ease. I had many questions. I had spent many hours preparing questions. But I find it pretty much impossible to come up with enough questions to fill 48 hours. Eventually I’m going to give up and begin inquiring about celebrity relationships. “What do you think of this Taylor Swift, Jake Gyllenhaal debacle?”

From there, I’ll soon begin a line of questioning relating to reality television. And no one should mention Snooki during a campus visit. (Although, as mentioned in my last post, I have worked in a reference to Toddlers and Tiaras.)

However, when a job candidate is relieved of the burden of coming up with questions when she doesn’t have any, she faces a new burden: small talk. I’m pretty good with light chatter, especially in non-Texas situations. When I’m considered a visitor from the Lone Star State, I can break out a wealth of Houston anecdotes, including my Texodus from Hurricane Ike and my first encounter with the enormous mirrored armadillo on Kirby. Who doesn’t want to talk about an enormous mirrored armadillo?

But this weekend, small talk made me realize that boy, do I need a hobby. When someone asks “what do you do for fun?” I feel it is inappropriate or at the very least unflattering to answer honestly. I break out a bag of Doritos and screen my own Felicity marathon, even though I’ve seen each season about twenty times. I go to Target, buy some popcorn, and spend a lot of time in the office supplies aisle. I play Wii Tetris with Danny until I surrender, defeated by his superior spatial instincts.

Okay, so I have a few hobbies. I like to run. (Jog is probably a more accurate term.) And I like to write, but that isn’t so different from research in the context of a casual conversation. I know how to cross stitch and enjoy doing so when my eyes aren’t all bleary and weird from reading.

But I’m thinking I need to try something new. You know, in my copious free time. My new hobby must fit two key criteria: It can’t be expensive, and it has to be something that I can spend twenty minutes at a time upon without a lot of travel, set-up, or clean up. Danny has already made two completely ridiculous suggestions: golf and taxidermy. Neither fit my stated criteria. (That second one was a joke, but it did make me think of Victorian ladies re-articulating bird skeletons in their parlors.)

I’m thinking knitting. Soothing and practical. And I’m sure I can find somewhere to learn. But I ask you, carrots readers. What are your hobbies?

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10 thoughts on “in which carrots mentions the giant mirrored armadillo

  1. So glad the campus visit went well. I wish you were nearby, because I’d gladly teach you to knit while watching some “trash” on Netflix. My favorite hobby is photography. I don’t know anything else that provides that mental escape. It isn’t exactly rest because I’m hyper-focused while doing it, but that kind of focus on something wordless is incredibly centering.

    • Oh, that would be lovely. Maybe at some time in the future we will actually live within driving distance!

      I’ve looked at (and very much admired) your photographs. You have quite a talent!

  2. Ooh.. take up knitting. I started just before Christmas, and now pretty much every close relative has a scarf. Wool (yarn) is cheap and knitting needles won’t break the bank. You can EVEN do it while watching Felicity!

    • I didn’t know you were a knitter! And I agree — hobbies that result in gifts for others seem like a good idea. I was considering taking up knitting and then making blankets for organizations around town. Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to learn first!

  3. I vote for cooking and/or baking. Because at the end of it, you get to EAT! Tomorrow, I will be attempting Marrakesh stew and gingerbread snack bars (that is, if Cee cooperates).

    Perhaps this is why I don’t fit into any of my pants.

    • Hmmm. This is a definite possibility. And the Marrakesh stew sounds wonderful. If it’s good, will you send me the recipe?

      Maybe, instead of taking up baking as my own hobby, I will take up Being the Recipient of Bee’s Delicious Treats. That takes no time at all!

  4. I am learning how to knit. A woman I met on the bus taught me the basics last fall and I finished my first scarf in December. Earlier this month she taught me how to knit in a circle so I can make a matching hat.

    So far I am really enjoying knitting. The basics are pretty easy, but the possibilities for more complicated future projects are endless. I enjoy knitting while listening to NPR or watching TV.

    I also second the Photography hobby. I have a nice camera and I cherish all of our travel photos, but I also enjoy iPhone photography because it’s a bit more spontaneous and doesn’t require lugging around a big heavy camera. Photography can lead to all sorts of fun crafty things like greeting cards and calendars, too.

    • Glad to hear another knitting success story! You’ll have to post pictures when you finish your hat.

      I admire all my friends who are photographers, but I’m not sure I could do the photography thing. I have a digital camera that serves me well, but it’s not really equipped to do anything particularly interesting, and I certainly don’t have an iPhone. Not sure I’m willing to invest in a camera at this point. I think skeins of yarn are more my speed!

  5. Cooking is fun for me (when I get to cook for someone other than picky, picky DMP) and gardening and since both “need doing” that works out well. I play with my dog. Sometimes I dig out the beading and make jewelry. Of course, because I’m retired I get to do “for fun” what you do for work–read Victorian & Children’s Lit, research a bit, write a bit, discuss a bit, and try to share my passion with people who really aren’t all that interested.

    • I don’t have much of a green thumb, although I have considered creating a small potted herb garden. I’m delaying until I have a kitchen with a sunny window!

      And I didn’t know you made jewelry! Very cool.

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