Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
I’ve created a monster! About two months ago, I lost my temper with my husband Jack for always lurking over my shoulder when I was watercolour painting or reading. I told him to go away and get his own hobby and … sadly … he did! It was great when it was just bushwalking as he’d disappear for hours. But then he discovered plants! It’s hard to believe that the man I fell in love with 40 years ago has turned into the Big Lap’s biggest botanical bore! Now, the van is weighed down with mighty tomes on flora, our trip only takes us to areas where rare species grow … but worst of all, he loves to talk about his finds … endlessly! It is so dull. And he takes absolutely no interest in my paintings any more. Help!
Maybe you should meet Jack halfway, Lynne. Most subjects are boring until you learn about them yourself, or start to take an interest. I am sure you appreciate some of the amazing wildflowers we get here. Why can’t your two hobbies meet in the middle? Why not start painting some of his favourite plants? Perhaps, you can try a bit of reverse psychology, as well. For example, if you want to visit the Painted Desert in South Australia, do a little bit of research and then mention to Jack that you’d like to find the endangered Arckaringa daisy and, in no time at all, the van will be all packed and you’ll be off to the Painted Desert … and it was all Jack’s idea! Just be pleased Lynne that Jack has found a passion and is happy. There are worse things, you know!
I know how you feel, Lynne! Jack is living proof that that most common of species – the self-centred ‘boringus manus’ – is alive and well and driving women crazy in caravans up and down the country. Why is it that all males assume that their hobby, whether it be football, motor racing, star gazing or stamp collecting is going to be of endless fascination to their nearest and dearest? Sadly, there is no known cure for the enthusiastic bore, Lynne. They are seemingly immune to being ignored, or being told to shut up, and even pretending to be asleep doesn’t seem to deter them. Looks like you’ll just have to get a bigger van, or take up another hobby … like listening to loud music with headphones on!