Things that are ubiquitous if you're involved ... but nonexistant if you're not

(Inspired by this Pit thread)

What are examples of things that seem ubiquitous if you are into them, and yet are totally off the radar if you aren’t into them? And are you interested in any of these things yourself, and can/have you seen through both sides of the looking glass (as it were)?

Here are two examples that come to mind for me:
Harry Potter fandom – Some folks: live in a “world” where everyone they know, everyone they see, everyone they may hapen to run into, has already read the entire Potter series to date.

Some other folks: live in a “world” where nobody they know, nobody they see, nobody they may hapen to run into, has read any of the Potter series.

Now, which “world” is more bizzare (no value judgment implied)? It just flummoxes me that Harry Potter is so pervasive in some places that a total stranger can even have half of a chance to spoil the recent book (as Sampiro recounts in the thread above).

The Blogosphere – Those that read/write blogs seem to think that everyone is in on it, and think it’s really huge. Those who don’t participate think it’s like 100 people blogging worldwide, and that it’s just not on their day-to-day radar. Why the discrepancy? If something is really “big”, doesn’t everyone think or at least sense that it’s “big”? Or no?


I know a bunch of people who don’t even really know what one is, or care. But I also know a whole bunch more who are way into it like I am. I think it’s mostly people who work in offices.


Good one … and so true.

12-Step programs. Can be your whole world if you’re in one. If not, you rarely think about them.

Underground or even alternative music.

Cats. A lot of people in my real life and in my intenet life are very involved with their cats - we share stories and pictures of the latest “cute” things they did and put up websites to share them with our on-line friendsm, we donate time and money to rescue groups, we pass around articles on the latest research into various feline diseases, we buy home furnishings and decorations with cat themes. Almost all of us have more than one cat, and all those cats are former strays and rescues.

Sometimes I’m dragged back to reality when I realize not everyone owns a cat. In fact, some people gasp don’t even like them!


There are people who don’t like cats? Tell me it ain’t so!!

And maybe recommend a few good sites, if you would be so kind.

Especially if recorded at 78 rpm.

Pregnancy. Not that I am anymore but when I was, every second woman was pregnant.

raises hand Er…that’d be me. Never could understand what people see in those little furballs.

For me I guess I’d have to go with jazz. WTF is the point of jazz?

Online gaming.


Crafting i.e. knitting, quilting etc.

Poetry. Only the ubiquity is really really annoying.

Someone discovers that I write, and suddenly they want to show me the crap they doodled on a notebook when they were 13 and feeling angsty.

I don’t want to read your diary entry! Ack!

Every damn stranger has at least one bad poem, usually tucked away somewhere on their person! Ack!

This is why I never reveal to non-pixel people that I have anything to do with poetry. I just ignore the topic entirely.

Try the internet in general. I work with a lot of people who never go online beyond just checking their work email. Many of them don’t even own computers, which is just completely foreign to me.

To a take an example that’s a little bit more on the “nonexistent” side:


Hundreds of thousands if not millions of speakers worldwide. Yearly international conventions, and monthly meetings in most major cities. Dozens of periodicals and hundreds of published books. Countless websites. I’ve met some people who have their lives arranged so that Esperanto is their primary day-to-day language.

And yet tell your average person that you speak Esperanto, and the response will be, “Esperanto, what’s that?”

I think golf is different. People that aren’t into golf still know that it’s very popular.

Macintoshiana. While there are certainly many folks who do or don’t own Macs and know in a limited sort of way how to get around in the MacOS and beyond that neither know nor care, it often seems the world is divided into those who know resource forks, automator AppleScripts, repairing permissions, command-option-dragging to create an alias, and why GraphicConverter rocks — and those who know of “Mac” only that it’s some other weird not-exactly-a-PC alternative to what they know.


Yeah, I hear ya. After a lot of listening and several iterations of asking the same question I’ve decided it’s about acting blase while showing off how talented you are. Technical proficiency served up cool and disconnected with a strong whiff of “look how cool I am”. Expertise without passion. (Unless, perhaps, you want to count passion for licks and chops and sophisticated execution).

Current music trends. Everyone I meet seems to think I will instantly recognize the least reference to the current top forty hits. ("You know, “Banging on the bathroom door?”) In reality, my taste in music encapsulates the years 1978-1992, period. I have no clue what “rock” band is popular now, or why such and such is the greatest band ever.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned poker yet.

(Unless you guys are just not into poker)

Noticing that myself lately. Apparently, it might not be just that I’m more aware of it now that I’m waddling around. The hospital here said more babies are due in September than any other month.