Tag Archives: surprise

Checkmate

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In New York City—it’s not every day that a stranger tells you that they have faith in you—or that they believe in you—or that they even want to sit down and chat with you—even for a few moments. I can attest to this—because I often try to sit down and talk to strangers.

 So when all of this happened–on a Friday night in Union Square, you can imagine my surprise, and my joy over it.

The truth is, I wasn’t expecting to sit across from a man in the middle of the park. I had another hobby planned for the week, but upon discovering that the original hobby wasn’t going to happen, I decided to try something more relaxed, novel, and New Yorky—so I headed to the park, found a chess player who didn’t have an opponent, and sat down.

 “Can we play?” I asked.

 He rolled his eyes at me. “I guess.”

 I wondered why he was so upset. I clearly hadn’t done anything wrong yet—except appear to be a novice who didn’t know the difference between a knight and…well a horse….

 I sat quietly for another moment, hoping he wouldn’t ask me to leave.

 “I’ve been waiting here for an HOUR for my friend. An HOUR. I HATE waiting,” he said as a distraught look overcame his eyes.

 “I hate waiting too. It means people don’t value other people’s time. I’m sorry that happened to you.”

He rolled his eyes again.

 “I mean it,” I said. “Waiting sucks.”

He smiled. “Waiting does suck.”

 “What’s your name?” I asked.

 “David.”

 “Good. David, my name’s Libby. Nice to meet you,” I smiled and held out my hand. He shook it.

 “How much is this lesson going to cost you?” He went on.

 I smiled. “I’m not sure, but there’s an ATM over there…and”

 “Now we’re talking.”

 And then before I knew it, he was teaching me the first eight moves to make on a chessboard. He was lifting pawns…sliding knights…building a moat—I mean…setting up opposition. Let’s just say he was doing his thing.

 “This is how I teach my 8 year old son. You got it? Good. Now show me the first 8 moves you can make on a board.”

 I went to move a piece.

 “No,” he sternly objected. “Not right.”

 Reminder to self—don’t pick an intellectual hobby when you’re looking for something calm.

 I tried again.

 “Good.  You’re a quick learner.”

 Now try another move…

 “Can I tell you something?” I stuttered.

 “Yes…”

 “I am playing chess tonight because I am doing this project, where I try one new thing a week—for the entire year…”

 “Well then let me ask you something,” He said, shifting the attention, and smiling. He lowered the volume of his voice.

“Okay…”

 “Have you ever slept with a black man before,” He began to laugh hysterically—as did I, before responding—“Not this week.”

 We laughed together and I told him he should try stand-up.

 “Naw…not for me.”

 “Well then come to a show sometime,” I responded, as I told him that I do stand up.

 “You do stand-up” he said. And we continued to converse while I slowly (kind of) learned some new tools for the next time I sat down in a chess match.

 And just as we were finishing our lesson, one of his friends came along.

“Man—meet Libby—she’s a comedian. She’s going to be famous one day. I am going to see her on Comedy Central…she’s funny. She’s going to be a star. People aren’t going to believe me when I say I know her.”

I don’t know what made him say this—I don’t know what energy was in the air—but I do know it made me smile—a big smile. He didn’t even know me—and he believed in me.

 Let’s just say—he didn’t check a mate that night with his joke—but he did indeed open my eyes—and my heart.

 The truth is, when a stranger has faith in you—after only moments of knowing you—it is an incredible feeling—and it makes you wonder how you’ve ever doubted yourself.

Checkmate.

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The Hobby Hoarder Gets Surprised!

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One of the greatest parts of the hobby year thus far is meeting new people and finding others who have similar missions as myself. A month or so ago, I received an email from one of the co-founders of Surprise Industries, and I was super amped when she told me that Surprise Industries would like to offer me a free surprise hobby/activity. The email was already one brilliant surprise! As the weeks went by my excitement grew–and when I walked into the gym and discovered that Kangoo Hopping–Hip-Hop–Dance was our surprise activity, I bounced up and down–literally.

For months, I have tried to get into a Kangoo Nation class, but it’s so popular that I’ve often missed sign-ups, however, not this time–This time, I got to try Kangoo dancing–and it was just by surprise–just by luck of the draw–just by connecting with people who have a similar goal as mine: to get people to get out and do things–even if they don’t know exactly what they are getting into.

The class was small and intimate, but the energy was upbeat and fast. As we hit the second dance routine, I could feel my heart racing, the positive endorphins flowing through my body, and the sweat dripping. This was the best workout I’d had in a long time–and it’s one I definitely plan to return to. As we hopped around the room, I could feel the smile on my face growing larger and larger on my face, and as I turned to my friend, I watched as she smiled too. This is what hobbies–and surprises–and new things do–they inspire you–they break you out of slumps–and bring you back to LIFE.

I’ve been so fortunate to have the opportunity to try so much this year–to meet so many people–to experience LIFE with so many other people.

Because that’s all this hobby year is about–experiencing life–for everything it’s worth–not saying no–and jumping at each and every chance to try something new.  This life is too short not to let surprises happen–it’s too short not to try something new–even if you think you’ll look silly–and it’s definitely too short to be sitting online reading blogs all the time. So get outside and try something new…Who knows maybe Kangoo hopping is your new favorite hobby–it’s definitely one of mine.

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Surprise Industries
@Surprisology

Disclaimer: Normally, after a Surprise Industries event you DON’T talk about your SURPRISE–it’s kind of like Tyler Durden’s rules of Fight Club–YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB…

YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT THE SURPRISE

But since Surprise Industries and I agreed on our common missions and why I would be telling people what my surprise was–GUESS WHAT–you know–but now that means you need to go SIGN UP for your own at http://www.surpriseindustries.com — Make sure you tell them you found them through the one and only Hobby Hoarder. ENJOY YOUR SURPRISE!!!!

 Kangoo Nation

The Hobby Hoarder Speed Dates: Speed Dating

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“You’re a racist.” This isn’t exactly the first thing you’d like to hear on a first date–but it’s how my seventh date, in one night, almost instantly opened up our conversation. We were twenty seconds into our five minute date and I had already wishes that I could sprint to the bell and ring it to signify next–How was I going to get through this speedy date that seemed to be going in slow motion?” -Excerpt from upcoming essay.

I went to speed-dating with three thoughts on my mind:

1. To prove that speed-dating could indeed be a hobby.

2. The rest of my life seems to be on speed (not me–my life), so maybe if I pump up the dating process and the amount of prospects, it might actually work out this time around.

3. I may find some comedy material.

And I indeed did. Here’s an excerpt from the evening:

“I am a high school teacher, guess what subject I teach…”-Male #7
“Um. Is that what you wear to teach?”-Me
“Nope.”-Male #7
“Um. Math?”
“Libby, you are such a racist–just because I am Asian…” – Male #7
::Sulks:: “I am not racist. What subject do you teach?”
“PE”-Male #7
“Oh what sports do you play?” -Me
Wait for it….

“Ping-Pong” -Male #7

“This speed dating is crazy…It’s like us males are just being served to you on a plate for you ladies to judge…It’s awful.”   -Male #12
“You mean it’s like life…”  – Me

I did, however, make a match or two. Not so bad for speed dating.

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 NY Easy Dates

A Guide to Speed Dating

Have your own speed dating experiences? Share them in the comments section.
Got tips for future speed dating adventures? Share those too.
Got a speed dating success story? Send it over!
Email thehobbyhoarder@gmail.com if you’d like a featured piece on your own speed dating experience on the site!

My best tips?
1. Dress like you. A lot of people may tell you to do yourself up, but if you do indeed hit it off with someone, they may be disappointed to find out that you were faking your style. Just be you and the rest will come.
2. Don’t talk about speed dating while speed dating. Treat it like a real date. You wouldn’t say: “Wow isn’t it crazy we are on a date right now”–unless it was absolutely crazy that you were on a date with someone you never thought you’d be on a date with.
3. Don’t call the opposite person a racist.
4. Compliment the other person the moment they sit down.
5. Don’t have expectations. Just enjoy the new company and see where it takes you.

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