My biological father has developed an interest in the hobby of metal detecting. I find this interest befuddling because, in England, if you find anything of historical or financial value while detecting, you have to turn it in to the government.
If I died and went to hell, the devil would make me metal detect. He’d announce that I have to wander the earth searching for lost things, not things I’ve lost mind you, but things other people lost. If I find anything of note, I can’t keep it. Oh and there’s no clear finish line when you get that contented sense of completion. Did I mention you have to carry a shovel and dig things up? That sounds like pure torture to me.
The enthusiasm for which my father related the tale of finding a metal turret and then researching the history of tent manufacturing was as if he had found a giant ruby horde. If he found a horde, he’d have to give it to the government, so joy about that is still outside of my capabilities.
When my dad told me about the hobby, my brain performed the default MBA calculations automatically. You walked around the beach for found hours and you found 1.4 pounds. That means your time is valued at 0.35 pence per hour, far below minimum wage in Britain. He’s not doing it for the monetary return on investment. He’s doing it for the adventure of finding interesting bits and then researching their origin. For me, that would be like adding boring homework to an already tedious chore.
Twice, I went with him to detect. Both times while he was detecting, I hiked around on my own. We both got sweaty but, in the end, he had a pound and forty pence whereas I made a friend named Mr. Whippet. The dog rescue where Mr. Whippet was named had so many whippets they named them all Mr. or Ms. Whippets. Mr. Whippet is not the eloquent raconteur one might strive for in a new friend. I don’t think he’ll keep in touch.
While hiking by my Gran’s house, I saw a church. I started up the front stairs to take a peek inside. I froze under the gaze of someone watching me. There was a man that didn’t strike me as the pastor type sitting in the yard. I asked, “Is this a church?” “Not anymore,” he said, “it’s my house but feel free to go in and look around.” I declined politely, presuming this was a Monty Python’s Castle Anthrax switcheroo. Thirty minutes later, he chased me down on the other side of the hill to introduce himself. He pitched me a plethora of activities the two of us could do together (hiking, swimming, biking, cruising, etc.). He asked me to do everything he could think of except the one thing that motivated him to run after me. I politely declined. The English are a very hospitable people.
Hiking inspired me to wish that someone would invent a service that matches people with sore calves to people who want to rub them. Then, I realized that they did. That is Craigslist. I’ll make a king’s ransom on an English knockoff, Serfdom’s List.