My Strange Obsession (what’s yours?)

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It’s funny how when you’ve lived somewhere for a while, your community begins to know some of your particular likes, and finds personalized jokes and gifts and T-shirts that cater to that delightful quirk in your personality. For example, there was one year when I got five—FIVE (5)!—scarves for my birthday. Clearly, I have a reputation as a scarf person.

The age of social media makes these eccentricities even more obvious, because now friends will post jokes or memes and so, the trend reinforces itself. I’ve played music for several years, and so a friend shared this (brilliant) little clip with me:

And of course, it seems that everybody knows I love puns, so I am the grateful and giggling recipient of dozens of texts and messages every week with the very best of puns curated from the internet. (For example, this collection)

Now I am a quirky person and I love a lot of things, but not all of these are known (and broadcast) on social media. For example, I love black licorice (and try hard not to judge people who eat red vines. Ewww.) And probably my most listened to music album of all time is Julian Lloyd Weber’s collection of lullaby cello music (called Cradle Song). I think it is possibly the most relaxing music of all time. Here’s a sample:

But something that few people in the States know is that I have another secret obsession; one that might never have been brought to light until a friend posted THIS video on Facebook: a one minute promo on a new theme park that has opened up in New Jersey. Friends, I nearly screamed out loud watching this…

You see, as my friends from university days will know, I was not yet twenty when I fell in love with excavators. Yes. You read that right, excavators. I grew up in a house full of girls and don’t know that heavy construction machinery had ever been on my radar, but there was one day when I was passing by a construction site and I was just mesmerized by the elegance of the excavator. “It’s like a mechanical dinosaur,” I whispered, and my boyfriend pulled over the car so I could watch a while longer and have a “moment” with that big hulking piece of yellow. Real tears were shed, friends. I am not proud of this. But it happened.

And so it was that I became something of an excavator junkie. I built an excavator out of LEGO pieces and clapped my hands with delight when I got the hydraulics to work on it. I got a good-sized excavator replica as a gift for my 21st birthday and it held pride of place on my mantle for some time. When I discovered YouTube, this was one of the first videos I watched and re-watched and re-watched:

I still love excavators. I don’t cry anymore watching them, but I will admit that one of the great joys of having boys has been that I have got to spend so many hours playing with excavators again. So… now you know. This is one of my stranger obsessions. Feel free to share my joy in it, or just to have a good laugh at my expense. I’m okay with either.

But it makes me curious: do you have a strange obsession that makes no sense to others but still brings you joy? Gosh, I really hope so…

17 thoughts on “My Strange Obsession (what’s yours?)

  1. I think everyone may have some sort of “strange” obsession. Mine is cemeteries. I LOVE to walk among the graves. I love the peace and quiet. When we went to Galveston last year, I was thrilled that our hotel overlooked the cemetery. My husband thought it was strange but he will indulge my need for graveyards and old tombstones.

    • I don’t share this love but I totally get it. The quiet. The perspective. Something like the “blessed are those who dwell in the house of mourning” benediction in Ecclesiastes.

  2. This is great, Bronwyn! Interestingly, I am currently reading a book about autism (Uniquely Human by Barry Prizant), and he uses the word “enthusiasms” to describe autistic persons’ special interests. I like that word because it emphasizes the pleasure more than the strangeness. 🙂 So I guess excavators are your enthusiasm!

    One of our family’s enthusiasms is a form of word play. If someone ends a sentence with a word/portion of word that could also be a name, such as “Please fix that curtain rod” or “She is a teacher in primary,” we will reply “It’s Jeannie, actually” or “It’s Allison, actually,” etc. Even in church, even if it’s not appropriate to actually SAY it, we’ll nudge or wink at each other if we sing a line like “In every high and stormy gale” or “This is amazing grace.” We do this all the time, sometimes in loooong instant-messenger convos. It’s so fun!

    • Oh that IS a fun game!! My son would totally be into that but I think there might be some eye-rolling from the others 🙂

  3. Love this, Bronwyn, and totally understand a fondness for excavators. I have a doctorate in the experimental analysis of concrete pile shafts and their response to seismic loading. So believe me – I get it!

    My hidden obsession in the M18 Tank Destroyer, the fastest armoured fighting vehicle of WW2. The nest half-million I earn, I will buy a restored example. Inert gun, more’s the pity, but I will be able to run the thing through the sagebrush to my heart’s content, and my wallet’s dismay.

    And the locals, who have long questioned my sanity, will be constrained to stand aside and smell my exhaust, for thus is the stuff of dreams fulfilled.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/09/your-dying-spouse-208-drinking-from.html

    • Andrew! I am married to a phd’d civil engineer so I totally resonate with this 🙂 I do wish for you to have your moment with the M18…

  4. Oh my very beloved eldest daughter. How I have smiled and reminisced at this blog. I was taken back to the time when we visited that huge excavator, while living in Witbank. Circa 1987. With Dereck Benecke, friend & foreman at an Amcoal mine, flatmate of Richard Hudson. We went up into the inside of this behemoth of a yellow excavator – which reached, lifted, turned and deposited, on enormous tracks, using a prehensile, arcing jaw, All of us crammed into the driver’s cabin. You had an operational view – and, were HOOKED,

    • Mom!! I have no memory of this but I LOVE that you remember it for me! I obviously had great early imprinting!!!

  5. My 3 year old daughter is absolutely in love with “diggers” and is giddy with excitement every time she sees one! I hear her shouting “Mommy! A digger! A digger!” From the back seat on a regular basis. I am glad to hear she is not alone 🙂

  6. If you think Red Vines are bad, then you should really be bewildered at people who eat Twizzlers and call it licorice. I have to admit that I like both black and red licorice, with a slight lean towards black over red.

    I think my strange obsession is similar to Ronda. Though I am not as set on walking through cemeteries, I love to spot cemeteries in random places. For instance, there is a cemetery in the middle of a very populated residential area near my in-laws’ house. It looks like it was probably a family plot at one time.

    • The cemetery near my house used to be a very peaceful spot in the middle of a fairly crowded suburbia…. UNTIL PokemonGo arrived. Apparently, the cemetery is a PRIME spot for all sorts of little critters and what used to be a peaceful spot is now crawling with people glued to their smartphones…. *sigh*

  7. I love garden gnomes. Only the gray stone ones, not the painted ones. Anytime I see them in Target or the like, I wish for one. I have yet to receive one, but hint every Mother’s Day.

  8. I think that’s really cool, Bronwynl!!! It’s fun to see other people’s hobbies and interests, because we don’t always know how much we have in common. I like puns too! They were my favorite thing in 6th grade. I annoyed all my friends Now Im really into cats, as I match up with youtube definitions of “crazy cat lady”. I even scare my cats away sometimes. I like to color while listening to klove Christian bands also an unknown fact about me.

    Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed it 🙂

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