One hot afternoon in the central business district of Singapore, four friends went out for lunch and talked about their weirdest hobbies ever.
The first girl told us about her love for Hollywood musicals like Singin’ in the Rain (1952). This was, of course, uncommon for young adults our age, so we thought, “Yeah, pretty unusual.”
I came second and spoke about my love for building collages, cutting and pasting images from newspapers and magazines to assemble a therapeutic collage in my spare time. “Yeah, pretty unusual,” we all nod in agreement.
The third guy hesitated and was quite sure he did not have any unusual hobbies. “Well, I guess I collect shampoo bottles from hotels,” he chirps. We all laugh because it’s a die-hard habit of aunties and mums. “No, I mean, I collect them for display,” he adds.
We are all silent. “You mean not to use, but for decoration?”
“Yes,” he says. “I have a big jar from IKEA with all the bottles inside. Here, let me show you a picture.” He takes out his phone and we pass it around the table.
We ask the fourth guy what his weird hobby is. “I can’t possibly top all three of you! Musicals, collage, shampoo bottles. It’s just getting weirder and weirder everytime,” he protests.
We egg him on and slowly he hesitates. “Well…” he begins. “I like creating playlists for characters from books I read.”
We are all silent. “You mean a mixtape for your fictional friends?”
“Yeah,” he says. “It helps me to remember the character better.”
And so we ended our lunch on a high, from a hobby as harmless as watching Gene Kelly twirling around in the rain to a fetish as far out as creating a Spotify playlist for Stewart Gilmour.