Hobbits

I used to think I wanted to be a pirate when I grew up, but now I’m quite sure I’d rather be a hobbit. On the surface, hobbits are rather fond of eating and sleeping, two of my favorite activities. Hobbits also create lovely, homey holes for themselves, and I have always dreams of nestling into a hillside, digging my way to hidden tunnels and cozy passages. I spent a significant portion of my primary education sketching different perspectives on homes built into hillsides. Although I was vaguely familiar with hobbits at that age, I intrinsically loved my burrows and didn’t think them derivative of hobbits in the least. Now, I can clearly see they are early signs of my future profession as a hobbit.

Culturally, I think I would be right at home. There might be some tension around my terrible singing voice, but I’d love to participate in the singing nonetheless. I definitely enjoy festive group dancing, with some skill, if I do say so, at the many dances related to the Celtic world, which I imagine are related to the hobbit world. Although I’m not much of one for drinking and smoking, I could learn to brew a mean root beer and smile fondly at the crazy smokers. Hobbits clearly enjoy convivial evenings of much food and talk, where my natural skills would fit right in.

Food is an important part of my life, and even when I’m not eating, food occupies a significant amount of my thoughts. I would be more than happy to expand my daily meal quotient out as far as necessary. I am already a proponent of breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon nibble, pre-dinner sampling, dinner, dessert, and bedtime snack. With only slight adjustment, I could fit the hobbit routine, and would bring a new cuisine to the hobbit, whom I imagine are trapped eating traditional British foods. Although I am a robust consumer of cookies, tea, and nibbles, I’m eager to share my skills in baking and Italian-based cooking with fresh ingredients. For particularly adventurous occasions, I might even be convinced to break out some Indian and Thai dishes. Although perhaps present-day hobbits are already as fond of a good curry as the British folk.

Sleeping is far and away my most impressive skill. I can easily slip twelve hours under my belt, with intermittent visits to the bathroom. A slight headache, or stiff back, might force me out of bed for a bit, but hunger is the only really necessary reason to emerge. I am also skilled at taking a short afternoon nap, which can be expanded as necessary, or even moved to a different time of day. This should fit the slower, more relaxed schedule of the hobbits, and I think might even gain me a small bit of fame in the hobbit community. I’m willing to devote considerable resources to planning for a successful sleep, and I am talented at creating spaces to further the sleeping experience. However, I am also able to slip a little sleep in wherever is available, and I’m able to sleep under adverse conditions.

Hobbits also share my appreciation of saving items of personal or cultural significance that might not be needed immediately. I like things with attached memories and stories; for that matter, sometimes I need the thing in order to have the memory. But I’m the first to admit that saving every meaningful memento can lead to a rapidly overfilled living space. I would be thrilled to have the shared hobbit space to send all of these precious items. Perhaps a number of back curvy tunnels, snug and well lit. Lined with shelves, items could be submitted with a brief attached description and removed in times of need. I also would be thrilled to exchange used presents – again with an attached explanation of significance for either the giver or receiver. My inherent laziness would appreciate not having to shop while my enjoyment of giving (and receiving) gifts would be met. I could still save my precious items without having to actually live with ALL of them. My desire to reuse things would be satisfied, and yet I could still get things that were new to me. A most enjoyable solution.

Family and family history are thoroughly enjoyed by hobbits, with enough room for still finding the occasional relative annoying. Although I am not much for tracing one’s lineage, I am terribly fond of the odd family story. I would be quite satisfied to devote a portion of my life to discovering family stories, recounting these stories in writing, and sharing them with a jovial group of listeners. Furthermore, I’d be happy to track down other people’s family stories as well. No need to limit myself to my own particular genetic stock. I imagine my fellow hobbits appreciating the entertainment I could provide through our families and local history. And it might even be a good thing to have someone who isn’t quite so interested in the names and dates for marriages and births, but could tell you why they married each other and what disasters they had with their children.

I am also taken with the idea of being a homebody, and yet periodically going on a quest with one or two trusted comrades. Home is where the heart is, but a nice cozy hole with a few windows is an awful nice home. I like making a space into home, and an enjoyable home at that. Every now and again, however, I have an itching need to take my heart on the road and see what’s out there. A real quest, with danger and dragons and hunger, sounds scary, but like something I might be able to do. The slight distaste that most hobbits feel for adventuring would help satisfy my need to rebel and occasionally step off the beaten track. And it would be lovely to complete a quest with comrades who I trust while creating a breath of hope for the future. I’m willing to get dirty and sleep on the ground, and I can handle lice and ticks. I think I could learn to use a sword, and I’m very willing to practice running as fast as I can. I generally can get along with a group under pressure, and I promise to try to listen to everyone, unless I’m running as fast as I can. I’ll forgo my vegetarian vows in order to survive, and I can learn special skills as well. I think I’d be a good picklock, and I can spin a decent yarn. If subterfuge and lying are what’s needed to get through a situation, I’m happy to step up to the plate. And finally, home is marvelous to return to after a journey. It tastes sweeter and is better appreciated.

My final, dubious talent of writing is useful for both the traditional gathering of family history, and also the collection of stories about quests. I would be eager to write up my own quests, and would carefully interview my fellow participants in order to include their perspectives. Hopefully these narratives would give the wider hobbit community some appreciation for adventuring without encouraging everyone to set off on a quest. And even if no one ever reads these stories, I would still be able to read them to myself to remember my adventures. I may be a small audience, but I’m an appreciative one and I laugh at all the jokes.

I think I would make a fine contribution to the hobbit community and I’m eagerly awaiting my letter of acceptance. It should arrive any day now. Until then, I’ll be working hard on my skills of eating, sleeping, writing, adventuring, and saving a few more precious items. Feel free to join me whenever you want.

Office Mug Experiment

Over a three month period, the following science experiment unfolded.

Day One: Visiting employees hold a meeting at an office, drinking coffee and then leaving three used mugs in the sink.

Day Three: Mugs are now full of diluted coffee, dirty water, and Cup-o-noodle soup.

Day Five: Mugs, particularly the glass one, seem to be developing white scum on their surface.

Day 10: Mugs remain in place, liquid is now mostly dirty water and food particles.

Day 13: Mugs seem to be losing liquid to evaporation, but dirty circle is forming on bottom of the sink around each mug’s base.

Day 20: Liquid levels returned to full, apparently from a tomato based soup or dish.

Day 22: The mugs, with their liquid, are moved from the sink and lined up on the left of the sink on the counter. Rust circles remain at the bottom of the sink.

Day 25: The liquid is halfway evaporated, leaving a think patina of nastiness along the inside of the mugs. Particulary disturbing on the glass mug.

Day 30: Liquid appears to be holding steady at about 1/8 of a mug.

Day 42: Mugs are moved, with their liquids, to the right of the sink and lined up along the wall.

Day 46: No change.

Day 55: No change.

Day 73: No change.

Day 88: The mugs seem to have moved in and set up housekeeping. I imagine that even if we tried to move or clean them, they have sealed themselves to the counter and made their grime immovable.

Day 102: Tragically, the mugs were washed, the sink cleaned, and we are now on much tighter discipline in the kitchen. Much more pleasant, but the experiment has been shut down!