Wednesday, May 02, 2018

What does my geocaching hobby say about me?

Geocachers come in every size, color, nationality, gender, and education level which in itself is not peculiar for a hobby. What is peculiar is we all have a strong sense of curiosity mixed with adventure. How else can you explain a 55 year old grandmother in rubber boots and dress wading across a muddy ditch to find a small box in the woods behind a superstore? That is odd behavior considering she's a court reporter or dentist, or professor. What could possibly motivate this normally prim person to step over blown debris, broken glass, through thorns and poison ivy to possibly wander around "back there" for 20 minutes swatting mosquitoes by the hundreds?

Normal hobbyists do not put themselves through this much abuse for so little return. In fact, this woman's husband, who is an avid golfer, sits in the air conditioned car in the back of the parking lot and watches a YouTube golf match while his obsessed wife side-steps a snake 80 feet away. Normal husbands would be worried for her safety. He's just glad she didn't ask him to join her.

When this normally well-coifed lady kicks off her rubber boots and slips back into her heels, she rattles on enthusiastically describing in great detail the container, location, degree of difficulty, and the many hazards she experienced. He looks at her smile and the sticks in her hair and nods. He doesn't see the allure and fascination of the game, but if it makes her happy and he can stay in the car and out of the woods, he is more than happy to go with her.

My observation as to what common traits we appear to have is elusive at best and I pride myself on paying attention to detail. Wait, that is another item we tend to share. We are detail people. I've often wondered why the police departments don't ask geocachers to a crime scene to find out what they see. We not only look, but we see, if that makes sense and the sooner you develop this observation skill, the quicker you will find the containers or boxes.

Here in the Houston area, it appears to be an equal number of men and women who play the game, which I think qualifies as being peculiar. On top of that, most married people play the game sans their mate. That is also odd for a hobby. Geocachers tend to be more outdoorsy than most other hobbyists. Geocachers are the new outdoorsmen, as we spend more time in the woods and out of the way places than hunters. We are more likely to be in some remote place than any other mainstream hobbyists also.

Geocachers appear to have a nerd gene despite all appearances to the opposite. They also tend to talk to themselves when on the hunt. They say stuff like, "The hint says small rock," or "I see you Mr. poison ivy!" They purchase all kinds of stuff and accouterments to aid them caching and then forget to bring it or leave it in the car. Why is this so and why do I still do it knowing it is stupid? There is an unwritten law which states we must forget one important item when we go out caching.

For the most part, geocachers are friendly and like to eat. They are also generous and will share anything at any time. Cachers are opportunists with the hobby always lurking in the background. Otherwise how do you explain our curious tendency to find a cache in the cemetery after a funeral? I clearly remember the first time I did that.

Geocachers have photographic memories of where a cache is located, but can't remember what they ate for lunch yesterday. They point at various locations whenever they travel about town with their muggle mate and announce, "There is a geocache right there," and always get the same silent response. We will jump through hoops to add a souvenir badge to our profile, or dash like a lunatic to get a FTF on a cache. Never mind that it looks idiotic to everyone who doesn't play. "What? You went where at 3:30am to do what?"

I'm omitting a number of the traits that make us a peculiar bunch, but I think its safe to say there is a very common thread that unites us happy adventurists. Maybe you can write me to add them to this list.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Schaudt-Seal: geocaching is what happens when nerds go outside in the day light.

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