Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Most Optimistic of Hobbies

Ah, oenophelia. 

My brother has recently - gradually, over the past two years, say - become an oenophile. That's right, you heard me. It sounds like I'm calling him a bad name, but, truth be told, as I've watched his passion emerge and grow, I have become increasingly impressed by the perfervid faith with which he has embraced this new hobby.

He pursues it with almost numinous fervour, and watching that passion grow has caused me, recently, to pause and consider what it means. 

Collecting wine - and I mean serious collecting, not buying bottles for consumption within the next half hour as statisticians inform us the vast majority of us do - collecting wine is a seriously optimistic business. All of my hobbies involve immediate gratification. Even writing, even when it is geared towards publication, sometime, somewhere down the track, provides me with an immediate sense of peace, of fulfillment. Once it is written, it is written - ok, and then re-written and re-written, but nevertheless, I have something concrete to look at and read and recognise as my own.

But oenophiles collect wine for consumption some 10, 15, even twenty years from now.

Think about it: this is a hobby requiring enthusiasts to believe, truly, that they will not only be alive in twenty years, but alive and sitting down somewhere to a marvelous dinner party at which vintage wine of the highest quality will be drunk, probably in the company of loved ones.

When I go shopping, I buy because I want that thing, now. When I go running, it is because I want that running buzz, now. And because I want to be a dress size smaller, yesterday. All of it is about looking good, feeling good, performing well, right this moment, or at least in the near and foreseeable future.

Wine collectors must be the most optimistic, glass half-full people I know. I guess that's the point. They always want their glass to be half full, or more.

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