Free Time

I attended an event this morning for work. It was the annual spring brunch fundraiser for The Foundation that a grassroots group of women puts on every year. I had been sort of looking forward to this event, even though it was on a Sunday and was in the Couv, because I was not in charge (I was actually invited to attend), my ticket was free, the food had to be good, and because there was a silent auction involved and I secretly knew I would love checking out all the tacky shit that these women would bid on.

There were some significant complications with this event, mainly because I was somehow elected as the person who needed to teach the ladies who were running the brunch how technology works. This is not the point of this post, though, so suffice to say that grown-ups hate change. They cannot get past the concept of how much they hate change in order to see how much it actually simplifies things. This frustrates me to no small degree. Particularly when they pull out their iPhones while I’m talking to them.

Anyway, I was totally thwarted by Daylight Savings Time this morning, so I arrived to the brunch late, still half asleep, and criminally uncaffeinated. I didn’t exactly feel up to schmoozing with a table full of women who have more money than they know what to do with, but I sucked it up, put on my happy face, made conversation, and was a delightful guest. However, by the end I was totally bitter. You can only hear things like, “Dear, that sweater is just darling.” and “Look at those curls – Is your hair naturally curly?” so many times before you want a stiff drink. (Side note – For the most part, people with naturally curly hair do not particularly enjoy being asked if the curl is natural. This is usually for one of two reasons. Either they have insanely curly hair like my friend from college who used to say things like, “Of course I was born with this hair. No one has done this to themselves on purpose since 1985.” Or they are like me and have completely unevenly curly hair and don’t particularly like it. Usually when people ask me if my hair is naturally curly, I feel like they’re saying it doesn’t look like I took the time to fix it that morning. Which is true. No need to call me out, though.)

So, one of these women was chatting with me this morning and clearly had run out of things to say. There was an awkward pause for a while and then she said, “So, what do you like to do in your free time, Megan?”

I didn’t know what to say.

It’s a completely normal and innocent question, but I couldn’t figure out how to answer it. I mean, how do I spend my free time? I bowl, I drink beer, I read, I play rock band with my friends, I go to happy hour, I watch TV, I go shopping, and I blog. I’m pretty sure NONE of those were appropriate answers at the time. At that very moment, I wished I had played the harp since I was five, or really enjoyed running triathlons, or maybe even collected Rubik’s cubes. I just wished I had something remotely interesting to say. And I didn’t. So I said that I liked to go hiking and I really enjoyed music. Which was even worse. Then the woman to my left started asking me if I played an instrument or just… enjoyed listening to music (she said these last four words very slowly). And the woman who originally asked the question started talking about how boring she thought hiking was. And I really had nothing to say.

Have I really made it 25 years without coming up with any interesting and truthful answer to the question of how I spend my free time?

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2 Comments

Filed under About Me, Deep Thoughts, Nine-to-Five

2 responses to “Free Time

  1. miamired

    World’s worst questions:

    What do you plan on doing after graduation?

    What do you plan on doing with your degree?

    What kind of music do you listen to? (I prefer to answer something really random, like “um, mostly underground lo-fi twee.” that shuts them up)

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    Fear not, we are all struck down by this question and those listed above. If people actually know how to answer these, they are certainly boring people.

  2. Liesl

    After being blind-sided by that free-time question one too many times (I think technically it was time #76), I forced myself to sit down and write out all the things I do in my free time.

    Here are some of my answers:

    1. HAVE free time (they love that one)
    2. Yoga
    3. Running
    4. Snowboarding
    5. Getting out of town
    6. Journaling
    7. Reading (ha, like I ever have the free time for THAT anymore, though when I do I quite enjoy the activity)

    Most recently, I had an interview at an agency (for next year’s field placement) that I sort of wanted nothing to do with (it was the 8th site I applied to of 8 and I was surprised to get an interview). Anyway, this lady thought she was being so cute by asking me this question, I could just see it in her smile. Unbeknownst to her, I had prepared this one.

    I rattled off my activities with confidence, citing that most double as my self-care activities, for they are all great stress relievers.

    But this time I added my most recent free-time activity. I said, “I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend. It’s refreshing to be in a functional, healthy relationship… for once.” Ha ha, bitch didn’t see it coming. Plus, she had no idea how to respond, so she thanked me for my honesty. CLASSIC clinician deflection translating to, “I have no idea how to professionally respond to what you said, so I’m going to thank you for your honesty. And then you will feel validated. Everybody wins.”

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