It can threaten your identity when a long-held niche hobby hits the mainstream.
When she was growing up in the southern US, my friend Anna and her mother had a secret language. She spoke fondly about how the ability to talk covertly in public made her feel special. But then, at about the age of seven, Anna went on her first trip to visit relatives in Italy. It was there she discovered, to her horror, that millions of people also understood and spoke the secret language, which turned out to be Italian. The feeling of being special vanished. It took her years to get over it, she told me a decade later when I first met her.
I was thinking about Anna’s childhood epiphany last week as I elbowed my way through the overcaffeinated masses at the London Coffee Festival. It turns out that a lot of people speak coffee now, and it’s me who’s left feeling not so special any more. Devoted fans of indie bands who went on to make it big, long-time swing dancing enthusiasts or high-quality cocktail nerds may well relate.