Today, I realized hobbies and derelicts are connected.
Every six months, I load my beach wagon with boxes of pepper jellies, drag the wagon of jellies through the arboretum, and set up a booth to sell my wares. I think of vendor venues like the Plant Fest! as enabling events. When you make things, if you can’t hang them on the wall, display them on a shelf, wear them more than once a year, or eat them before they expire, you’d best have friends who clamber for them or a place to sell them.
Peppers and pepper products are one of my many hobbies. Even when I sell several hundred dollars worth, I don’t really make money. I make just enough to enable my addiction hobby. That’s what I meant. Hobby. It’s also a chance to pop my work bubble, spend a few hours outdoors, and mingle with friends, vendors, and clients.
One of the neighboring vendors asked about my jellies and peppers. My muscle memorized explanation:
I grow my own peppers and forage the fruits I can’t grow.
“Oh really! Where do you grow them?”
Right here. In my backyard. I live behind the arboretum.
“I live in this neighborhood too!”
I’m on Corby.
I could tell by the tone of his “Oh no, I don’t live there” that he wasn’t fond of my street. After he explained where he lived, he went on:
“What has happened to Corby? It’s become derelict.”
Derelict? How so?
“Oh, the houses are so run down.”
Hmmm. You’re probably talking about my house!
My house needs gutter repair (not easy on a two-story home), a pressure wash, and paint on the front door. I guess the guy thought I was joking, because he kept going.
“You know the house with the DeLorean?”
That’s my house!
Domestic To-Dos vs. Hobbies
I tried to keep my tone true. Amused, because I found this amusing, not insulting.
I mostly live within my financial means. No yard guy, no maid, and I don’t hire that guy who knocks on my door and offers to pressure wash my house. I have a mower, a mop, and a pressure washer. I’ll do all that myself.
But I do NOT live within my temporal means. My time is fully spent: frenzied freelancing hours and more hobbies than I can count on both hands.
When hobbies and domestic trifles land on the same to-do list, pressure-washing the house is more likely to fall off than tilling the garden. I’m more likely to can peppers than dust. Vacuuming versus writing? I’ll choose writing every time.
I don’t judge those who spic the span and have picture-perfect homes. I’m just not there.
My vendor neighbor seemed uncomfortable, so I didn’t insist on explaining My street is fine, and several houses have been recently painted, windowed, or flipped. Mine is not one of them. So me. That’s me in the derelict house. I let him shift the topic to the car (what’s up with the DeLorean?) and cars, and all the cars that he has parked in his garage.
I don’t know why he thought my street was derelict, so I can only guess and assume.
My street has become more diverse over the years. This is something that thrills me. If he associates run-down and derelict with color (and I don’t know that he does), I am even more amused since the only three houses (all in a row) that need more TLC on my street belong to a middle-aged white woman, a white family who rent to their son and two other white twenty-somethings, and another white family whose parents are of the brilliant computer-geek types.
If long-in-the-blade yards are bothersome, I’m with the computer-geeks two houses down: I do my own and get to it when I can. The twenty-somethings next door? Since when do college-age guys keep a tidy lawn?
I’m going to own “derelict.” Since I’m sort of my own boss, maybe this can become part of a title: Derelict Product Developer? Freelance Derelict? Derelict Novelist? Jelly Dereliction? Derelictious Gardener?
I’ll also own that I have taken on more than time allows. I could take a loan and just get some of the domestic things done, but I prefer the pay-as-I-go plan. And honestly, I’d much rather finish a novel and a screenplay (writing is my loftiest hobby) than fret over a well-kept yard or an appointed house. I take comfort in one of J.K. Rowling’s replies when she was asked how she raised a baby and wrote a book.
I didn’t do housework for four years! I’m not Superwoman, and living in squalor that was the answer.
Here’s to more years ahead of hobbies and dereliction! And owning the creative squalor.
©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2017.