I think Esperantists tend to be people who are interested in learning natural languages also. Speaking for myself as the first person who brought it up (>>8
), I've also studied a few classical languages, and >>23-
san seems to have broad interests.
It's true that there's to some extent an opportunity cost in spending time studying one language over another, or over doing some other sort of cultivating one's garden. But, from a practical standpoint, language studies compound on each other as your brain becomes more plastic, so it's not wasted time. From a more impassioned standpoint, I wonder if, as another person who studies dead languages, you might have gotten similar skepticism in the past about whether you're using your time wisely. What those languages mean to me is that the thoughts and feelings of people from across time and space, that Catullus' "od'et amo" or Sappho's "deduke men a selanna," reach me, in the form that they found to express them in those sleepless nights thousands of years ago, without intermediary. If someone thought the effort to obtain that wasn't something they were interested in or willing to commit to I would respect that, but if they thought it was worthless I would pity them.
To try to convey what I've seen in Esperanto so far, meeting someone who speaks Esperanto from another culture is very exciting, much more than someone from another culture who speaks English. Part of that is just being in the honeymoon phase of language learning, I'm sure. The more durable parts though are Esperantism, the idea that there's value in having this shared thing connecting that isn't either of our patrimonies, and, yes, that we're both weird nerds so we have that in common from the start.