Gretchen Rubin

Do You Ever Enjoy Listening to a Spirited Discussion about a Subject You Know Nothing About? I Do.

Do You Ever Enjoy Listening to a Spirited Discussion about a Subject You Know Nothing About? I Do.

Have I mentioned that I have a podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin? Oh right, I think maybe I have.

Well, because I'm fascinated with all things podcast-related, I get a brilliant newsletter called Hot Pod, which is written by my friend Nicholas Quah.

The newsletter covers the highly specialized world of podcasts, but Nick is such a terrific writer that he often throws in asides or observations that resonate far beyond his official topic.

For instance, in today's newsletter he wrote about how he'd been listening to a podcast called  Card Talk about the hit trading card game "Magic: The Gathering." Then he added:

So, I'm not a Magic player myself — I had a passing interest when I was a teenager in Malaysia, but TV ended up sucking more of time...but I find myself really drawn to the patter and rhythm of the often insular, community-specific language baked in free-flowing conversation. Do you ever have that experience where you turn on like, a sports radio program for a sport you don't really follow because it's just really damn fun to listen to people get into the weeds of something they know a whole lot about? It's like immersing yourself in a place that speaks a whole other language, and it builds up a certain envy of wanting to be in that in-group, because here I am now wishing that I had spent more time nerding out about MTG back when I was growing up back home. Hmm. A portal into a life I could be living right now.

[Sentence bolded by me]

When I read this I thought -- yes! I know that feeling exactly, and I thought it was just some weird idiosyncratic aspect of my own nature.

I do find that sometimes I find it entertaining to hear a spirited discussion about something I know nothing about--whether that's basketball, the Grammy Awards, the Real Housewives, the Olympics, opera, nice restaurants in New York City, international monetary policy.

Why that is, I don't know. Sometimes it makes me want to know more--but usually not. It's just fun to listen to people talk, to hear the lingo, the debates, the nuances, the history, the jokes, and most of all, the enthusiasm--without really understanding what's being discussed. An odd phenomenon.

Do you ever enjoy listening to people discuss a subject you know nothing about?

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