Saturday, October 11, 2008

Holly Lobbies for Hobbies

Something I have been thinking about for a long time is kind of a strange and radical idea. In fact, I don't know if it would really work, but its a theory of mine. And I started thinking about it again as my sister and I walked back home from the voter registration place near our home in Harlem. Weekend nights in Harlem the streets are full of punks, and the reason why there is so much trash everywhere, busted newspaper dispensers, broken windows, fights, police sirens going off, and all that trouble on a regular basis is because people don't have have enough hobbies. If the bored men and women would get hobbies that kept them busy then they wouldn't be roaming the streets at night looking for trouble. They would be home or together in groups happily discussing a recent jazz album or drawing together or making a macrame hammock or doing genealogy or building a replica of the city out of erector set pieces.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy. And yes, I do believe that good education, satisfactory jobs, and family counseling also need to happen in Harlem. I just have this feeling that if people had more hobbies, they would have less time to vandalize, fight, get drunk and all that stuff. They would be doing something productive, which they would enjoy, and it would bring them satisfaction while simultaneously enriching the community and the world. I guess its about being productive rather than destructive, and I realize its a mindset that does not come easy to everyone, especially if you've never had much good happen to you in life. But I was walking home from Enrichment the other night and passed a dance studio. Through the large front windows and open doorway I could see a half dozen women dancing to an African beat. It looked like such fun, and it was so beautiful, and it was causing other women besides me to stop and stare longingly. Those women have found their hobby, so who will be next?

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