There are a specific set of questions which society has trained us to ask when we first meet someone new. Whether those questions are asked out of mere politeness or a genuine desire to get to know the other person, the routine is inevitable. We are bound to face the same interrogation in a number of different situations and environments, but none more so than during the college years. Professors, roommates, classmates, and seemingly every one of the other 5,000+ people roaming a college campus will need to know your name, where you’re from, and deepest most personal aspirations. And if you are unfortunate enough for the conversation to last past these first three questions, you are bound to face the dreaded, “What are your hobbies” or “What is an interesting fact about you?” Now for all you athletes and creative types, this question is often a welcome way to find a topic to discuss and avoid awkward silence. But for us interesting hermits, it is the question that ends budding friendships and prolongs the laborious struggle of a first interaction.
Whenever I am asked this question, I face a difficult choice. Should I be honest and risk sounding like the couch potato that I am? Here’s how that normally goes: “Ummmm I watch a lot of TV. And sometimes I even switch it up and watch movies. That’s not a hobby, you say? Oh, I know! I take a lot of naps. That’s my hobby. I’m really good at it, it’s my favorite.” And at that point, anyone who fills their time with activities that require being conscious slowly backs away, feeling much better about their own lives after seeing the inferiority of mine. But at least my inadequacy makes someone feel good!
My other option when it comes to introduction is to not necessarily lie, but to stretch the truth as much as possible so that I sound like a normally-functioning human being. In the moment, I wrack my brain, trying to think of anything remotely interesting to say. And when I choose this strategy, I face the added pressure of deciding how to label myself to this total stranger who will probably never talk to me again. But you never really know who could be your new best friend and this first impression could make or break the potential relationship. I could go sporty and use my gymnastics history. It is true that I stopped when I was 14 when I began to appreciate the true beauty of a sedentary life, but no one has to know the time frame. Or maybe I could portray myself as artsy because I did try pottery…once. Although my mother, to whom I gave that sorry excuse for a pot, would definitely protest the notion that I could ever call that a hobby. She thinks it is very funny to tell me that I can be anything I want to be…except an artist. There’s nothing like a mother’s love.
But she’s probably right and I could never pass as any kind of artist, even in a passing conversation with a stranger. I really am much better at napping. Maybe the problem is that new people just don’t understand how good I really am. I can drink a venti Starbucks coffee and still take a four hour nap. I have Sunday sleep days every week when I go to church, come home, and sleep until dinner. During the summer, I wake up at 1:00pm and start my nap at 4:30pm. I really think that this level of commitment should be considered a talent. I mean, what are the odds that someone can compete with that? So what does it matter that I don’t skydive or train ferrets to do flips? Sleeping may not be that exciting, but at least I’m the best. Sure, it my be weird that I live to be unconscious but I’m awake long enough to do my work and spend time with my family and friends, most of the time, anyway. I’m making the most of the relaxing time that I have before my life really begins. This may not make for the most interesting introduction, but the way I see it, maybe the fact that I’m not interesting is what makes me unique.