The other day, I got quite a disappointing email. It told me that the symposium The Life of Corpses: Exploring the Ethical Issues of Exhibiting Human Remains had been cancelled. I was disappointed because I’d signed up as soon as I saw it.
On the other hand, I was tremendously happy when I saw a tweet from @rebustours about a McGonagall walking tour next week. “How could you resist?” I asked everyone on facebook. “It has McGonagall readings! Dundee cake! You can even perform your own minute-long McGonagall poem!” I sent off an email to ask for a ticket. I wrote it in McGonagall verse. I didn’t tell them that I already have a poem that I once wrote in McGonagallese, just because I felt like it. It’s definitely more than a minute long though.
Talking about both of these things, I realised once again that many of the things I think are completely irresistible are… non-standard.
I know exactly where I get this from. When I was growing up, my parents were your classic scientist type. “Wow, look at that? What’s it doing? Can we figure that out on the blackboard?” Finding a fab fact was something to be celebrated round the dinner table.
I found it pretty confusing that people at school weren’t the same. University was marvellous though as I bumped into people who were equally enthusiastic. Particularly when I lived in postgraduate halls – hearing about other people’s super-specific theses in all sorts of subjects was really interesting. It’s glorious to talk to someone who is honestly, genuinely passionate about their little corner of knowledge.
I think that most of the people I spend time with are of the interested-in-stuff type. But sometimes I step outside even their fairly wide-ranging domains of interest. Corpses for art. McGonagall.
A good thing is that my lovely husband is just the same as me. Maybe not exactly the same obsessions – he’s less likely to come to an obscure poet or an architecture talk. But he gets it. Sometimes they are things we share that we can’t understand how anyone could not be interested in. “It’s a bat talk! There will be actual bats! Actual close-up bats! How is it not queued out the door?!”
One thing that’s nice about hanging out with small kids is that they are as excited about perfectly normal things as I am about the oddities of life. And they don’t know what’s weird and what’s not yet. Just wait, in a few years I’ll be dragging my nieces and nephews off to see interesting rocks and strange derelict buildings in the same way that my parents took me. I can’t wait.