Thursday, January 21, 2010

Acquiring and Rediscovering Tastes

Acquired tastes are a funny thing, aren't they? It always seems the case that if it's something that you have to acquire and labor to do so, then why even bother in the first place. There are enough things out there that you like right off the bat. Or so it would seem, because for those of you who have bothered acquiring certain tastes, you could hardly stand to live without them now, am I right?

Running has become an acquired taste for me. Maybe some people love it right off the bat, but I was definitely not one of those people. I hated it. I cannot emphasize that more. Hated. Running. And I have always been a soccer player, a sport which requires more running probably than any other sport, but somehow it seemed so entirely different running around to chase after the ball, or to run towards the goal. And it is. It's completely different than just running with no other object in mind. Dave can attest to this, but I even hated running so much that I would skip out on summer league practices because I just wanted nothing to do with the fitness part. And in high school, I could not run 2 miles to save my life. Seriously. My back would start to give out and I was not physically capable of doing it. I've since learned that it was because of a certain type of sit-up we were doing that really was doing more harm to my back then good to my abs.

Then, I don't know what happened. Becca begged me to run a 5k with her, and I thought it was the stupidest idea, but I did it anyway. I had fun. Still didn't like running yet, though. And it was about two years ago that I decided to run a marathon. I still hadn't acquired a taste for running yet, either, but I thought that would be something I wanted to accomplish. Not until after I ran Chicago that I learned to enjoy it. Now I can't get enough of it. I still hate marathon training, but if I have time to kill on a Saturday morning, there's little else that I would like to do more than just run for an hour or two.

Sushi was another acquired taste. I couldn't stand even the thought of it. Raw fish? Just eat it? Then one Saturday night when I had nothing to do a friend invited me out, and I turned on adventure mode, decided I would try it and enjoy it, and then to my surprise, I did. Now it's one of my favorite things to eat in the whole world. Once you open yourself up to Asian cuisine, it's seriously like discovering a whole new world of flavors that you never had any idea even existed. It's like my mouth had been watching TV in black and white only to discover that there were color televisions to be had.

Golf is like that too. Just about anyone who knows me can attest to it. I just really didn't care for golf. It's not that I hated it, but spending $30-50 on a round of golf seemed like a waste of money to me. Then I flipped my switch, went with the Reids, and now I really want to play all the time.

Anyway, all this stuff was inspired by Jay Nordlinger's Impromptu's column this morning, and what he had to say about golf:
I don’t know what your experience has been, but I’ve found that I can’t lead someone to like golf, or appreciate golf. You kind of can’t tell people about golf — they have to discover it for themselves. It’s hard to talk to people about religion, or music, or certain other things. They either come into an appreciation or they do not.
I was having this conversation with a friend last week about acquired tastes, and I was agreeing with her just for the sake of being agreeable. That's kind of a stable characteristic about me, probably because I really don't care for people who are contrary all the time. I find it annoying. But then I started thinking about my acquired tastes, and now they're things I can hardly live without. When I have to hold off on running I get irritable. I haven't had sushi in months, but I think about it almost everyday, itching for the next chance I get to have it.

I think my reading has taken this turn lately also. I saw a part of the movie Roxanne, and I completely forgot that it was one of my favorite movies as a kid. Something funny about me, I was an incredible romantic as a child. I was always so enamored with knights and chivalry, and I loved poetry, and I loved the story of Cyrano de Bergerac and just the idea that a person could be so inwardly beautiful that even his outward flaws wouldn't matter. So watching that movie the other night prompted me to buy the book. And now I just feel like reading classics. I'm thisclose to buying the collected works of Shakespeare.

Anyway, acquired tastes are some of the best tastes that you'll ever experience because in a certain sense, it's almost like you're paying a price to get them in the first place. Now it actually has cost you something to have it, and that has adds some value for you.

You can lead a horse to water...and then the horse ends up thirsty because you drank all the water yourself because you know how good it is.

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