Webcomics, Video Games, Books, Geek Toys, and Life in General

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Road-Geekery?! Is It a Hobby? Then That’s Okay.

Geeky hobbies, a-hoy! Today, we’re talking about the word “hobby,” which is almost synonymous (in usage, though not origin or derivation) with “geekery,” making it a fine topic, I think, for a column called GeekCast.

Furthermore, I would like to hear from people who have fascinating hobbies that they feel could or should be added to the following list. I chose these based on their absurdity and/or level of personal interest I felt for them while researching popular (perhaps even “geeky”) hobbies on the intarweb. Ready? Let’s go:

Beekeeping (“I like my women like I like my coffee—covered in bees!”)
Dog Breeding (One of those things the filmstrip at school said not to try at home.)
Crochet/Knitting/Embroidery (The only activities involving needles that one may SAFELY pursue.)
Origami (“It’s a pterodactyl—KRRAW! KRRAW!”)
Collecting—or Antiquing if you’re sensitive about it—lunch boxes, books, rocks, bottle caps, playing cards, Pez dispensers, comic books, Zippo lighters, etc.
Building Model Airplanes or Dollhouses
Computer Animation
Modding or Hacking Computers
(It’s got a nice “illegal” feel to it; we’ll talk about that later.)
Ham Radio
(Anything from epic novels to steamy fanfiction!)
Gaming (Anything from card games to board games to RPGs to MMORPGs to LARPing—I’m talking to you, Civil War Re-enactment buffs!)
Rock Climbing
(Motto: “Because it’s there.”)
(“Oh yeah? One time I drew a nose that was THIS big!”)
Sports and Sports Fanaticism
And last, but not least—wait for it, people—RoadGeeking.

I know you want to know about RoadGeeking RIGHT NOW—BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER, which is why I listed it last. It’s a new word, it sounds obscure enough that it can’t possibly be anything mainstream (which doesn’t necessarily make it indie, but there’s an alluring chance), and plus I listed it last, so it’s stuck in your head. Get it out! Get it out!

Relax, people. It’s basically road-tripping. However, RoadGeekers are more interested in the trip (the “getting there, man”) than in the destination. A RoadGeek is like a Buddhist monk of the road, always questing for that ultimate spiritual journey: the road-trip to nowhere. (Actually, I think that probably makes Jack Kerouac the godfather of that particular hobby.) I imagine possible RoadGeekers as people who slave away in cubicles like mine pulling ten- or twelve-hour shifts during the week so that they can hit the road early on Friday and spend the weekend seeing the countryside.

And what a hobby! Can you imagine the clubs? The dues? The meetings?

The Roadgeek Convention? Where would they hold it?

“Right, we’re gonna meet in Partridge Grove, Connecticut on Tuesday; then we’ll meet in San Caleo, California on Saturday—no rush, we’re not commuters here, people! After that, it’s up to Boseman, Montana on Wednesday, and we’ll finish up the convention in Gerkitwake—you remember that little village we hit in ’96—up near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. First one there’s a real weenie.”

I want a T-Shirt already, and I haven’t even read everything I can find on the subject. I have so many questions—I’m like a RoadGeek Padawan.

For example: Is it road-geeking if you just get lost for a few days because you refuse to stop and ask directions? I think the time I navigated an inadvertent road-trip to North Carolina should count, especially if these RoadGeeks tally their miles. I don’t want to brag, but I’ve been known to turn a three-hour trip into a six-hour trip—and that’s when I’m not even trying.

Also: Is it road-geeking if you just sit at home and plan out trips that you never take? If so, I could count hours and hours spent planning out a looping, drunken course across “these United States” that would take me through Texas (Shawn, April, Kristin), Utah (Dave, Adam, Jeremiah), Nevada (Cameron, Jueneta, Will), California (Sarah, Rich, Scott H.), Oregon (Leticia, Scott B.), Washington (Mike, Desiree), and Idaho (Nolan, Barbara & Co.), not to mention a few other states where I don’t know anyone at all—will I ever see the Twin Cities, Chicago, or Boston?! At this point in my life, nothing is certain.

And another question: What if you’re not actually going ANYWHERE AT ALL!? Perhaps RoadGeek Boot Camp goes something like this:

“For the next week, we’re just going to circle the city—everybody hop on 295 and just Ring-Around-the-Rosie until you get sick. Last one off wins! We’re allowed one pit-stop every six revolutions, and a two-hour dinner each evening at a location chosen by the lead vehicle. Monday’s lead vehicle is Jim in the Nissan supercab, so you can probably count on those guys picking Chili’s again. Radio in when you’re stopping so we can time you—if it takes you more than one revolution to catch up, you’re drinking too many fluids!”

If RoadGeeking just sounds like endless driving to you, then you’re missing the bigger picture, I think!

Think of the comforts these people must bring along. You can’t just take off in your Yugo with a hoody sweatshirt and a bottled water—this isn’t a nature walk! RoadGeeking requires preparation, and by preparation I mean snacks! (Not too many; we’re not trying to turn this into the week-long search for every rest stop in the tri-state area.) Where do you strike the perfect balance of energy, nutrition, and fiber? How much lemon in your drink is TOO much—enough to slake the thirst, but not so much that you need a belly full of water to undo the after-taste? I’m sure these are questions to ponder ... for a RoadGeek.

What about the vehicle? A mini-van can seat more people comfortably, but it guzzles gas and would require more stopping; a Geo Metro gets great gas mileage, but it would fold you up like a taco all day, and that means cramping not only legs but stomach muscles—oh, the indigestion!

Do RoadGeeks enjoy the sights along the way—or are they too centered on the transitory experience? Would a RoadGeek make a detour to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine? Would a RoadGeek pull over at the Grand Canyon to take the inevitable picture of someone pretending to pee off the edge? (We hope he is pretending.) Or would the ultimate RoadGeek simply thrill to the feel of the asphalt thrumming away beneath the tires? Would he become a connoisseur of road conditions, gushing over the stretches of highway in Kansas that disappear perfectly straight all the way to the horizon, musing exasperatedly—yet lovingly—on the swerving, plunging Colorado passage through the mountains?

Are you a RoadGeek? Maybe you are, and you just don’t know it. Jeff Foxworthy says—and he is not exactly the voice of one who cries in the desert, but he spoke true at least once by my count—that it is every man’s dream to walk into the house after a long road trip and declare, “Made it in five hours, eighteen minutes!” as though declaring an Olympic Moment in History. I feel this thrill when the trip from our porch to Grandma’s porch takes less than two hours, fifty-eight minutes—our personal best. “Lay thou the ancient laurels upon me, for I have bested that which was the best!” (It’s iambic, people; you can check.)

If all this rambling has a point, I am afraid that I have run out of time today to tell it. Therefore I declare this to be ...


Stay tuned for more Hobby-Geekery on this channel.


Blogger Stormy said...

How obscure can it be, this roadgeeking, if it has its own Wikipedia entry?


1:13 PM

Blogger maverick said...

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6:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:31 PM

Anonymous Sarah Bowden said...

I have another geeky hobby! Spinning!! (and not the bike-riding spinning, the Sleeping Beauty, prick-your-finger, turn fleece into yarn, spinning). Richard, Penelope, and I have now begun. Does that make us a geek family? Especially since Rich makes us dungeons and dragons role-playing games that Penny can play!

7:32 PM

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