I remember being in university and for some reason choosing to attend some dull mixer event, or being forced to just make a “casual appearance” at some random party where I barely knew anyone (cringe). Then to add to the misery, at the worst possible moment, the only friend I came with runs off to flirt with some cute long-haired guy with a faintly South African accent and leaves me on my own to make small talk with some lame dude with his faculty and class year stamped onto the sleeve of his sweater. You know that generic guy, the one that starts the conversation with “what do you study?” or “what’s your rez?” Then smoothly progresses to the most grating question of them all, “what are your hobbies?” And then when I stare empty-headedly back as a response, “You know, where do you go? What do you do for fun?” Usually I’m just thinking, “none of your damn business awkward stranger,” and looking for the best exit strategy.

I hate this small talk question more than any other small talk question pretty much ever. The types of people who ask it are the types of people who need to seek out unique activities to do on their weekends, like deep sea diving with endangered sharks. And they do so only to serve the purpose of collecting some awesome stories and pictures, in order to distract their acquaintances from the fact that they are actually mind-numbingly boring individuals. The better part of my adult life has been like one long weekend, and I don’t have a mundane personality to escape from; the main bulk of my “hobbies” consist of either pretty normal or pretty personal activities, none of which I want to share with some dude I might share an elective with, or some random man in a café way too old to be talking to me anyways.

Essentially, the tail end of my teen years and the better part of my early 20’s were spent as an undergraduate at a rigorously academic high-ranking institution. And after long hours in labs, lecture halls, and libraries I would either need to wind down or blow off major steam. This was usually accomplished by sweating it out on a dancefloor, or by turning on some tunes, passing around a bong or a joint and engaging in either deep conversation or frivolous gossip. I didn’t have the time for creative or inventive new pastimes, my schedule was full, and I used my free moments to catch up with all my awesome friends, get faded, and enjoy each other’s company. I could not wrap my brain around needing or wanting any other activities in my life. And now, as a mid-twenties, barely-employed post-grad, my life has not changed all that much. If I am alone, I end my days with a joint and some good t.v., if I am feeling productive, I light one up and complete chores or work on my writing, and if I am with my friends, I spark one for the group and let the evening take us where it will.

Photo by Oliver Sjöström

It used to make me feel super inadequate, not having any “interesting” hobbies to share with random people I barely just met. Sometimes I would search my brain and try to think of cool things to mention, “can I say I like to work-out? No, stoner walks through parks is not really fitness regimen”… “I definitely collect things, but I probably don’t want to converse about all my weed paraphernalia” … “Shit, he’s waiting for an answer, say some words dammit!” And then, when the dude would be super unimpressed with whatever I managed to say I would feel like my life was in shambles, and that I needed to partake in weekend decorative candle-making classes to be a complete human.

But now, I have embraced myself as the person that I am, and I love my life, no matter how uninteresting it could seem to someone else from the outside. If a hobby is something you need to make your days seem shorter, you keep doing you. All I need is a nicely rolled joint, and either my own company, or the company of some fun-loving people, and my days are set.

Obviously, I do read and write, and do some productive things with my life once in a while, but I can’t think of one hobby or aspect of my life that I would not want to enhance with weed. I promise I’m not mocking people with real unique hobbies that they love, it’s just that I have never done any other activity as consistently as smoking weed, and so I’m slightly bitter that it’s not a recognizable hobby that I can share with the general public. I will just keep hoping that maybe one day blazing and writing will become something fruitful for me, and then I will finally have a productive hobby that I can be proud to share with any and all obnoxious strangers.


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