Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Being Boring

I can safely say that I have never been bored in my entire life.

In French, one does not say “I am bored,” one says “Je m’ennuie,” which means “I bore MYSELF.”
The psychological implication of that marvelous idiomatic syntax is of course, that you are responsible for your own good time and no one else. If you are “bored,” then you need to become “un-bored.” If you do not want to become “un-bored,” then you are relaxing, enjoying doing nothing. Relaxing is not the same as bored. Daydreaming, spacing out, thinking, lounging—none of these are “bored.”

Even when I was growing up, I was never bored. My mom taught me early on that there was always something to do—not out of some deranged, Puritanical “idle-hands-are-the-devil’s-workshop” belief but simply that there are wonderful, interesting things all around us, all the time. If I did not want to play with my toys or games or be inside, I was not bored… I was restless. Perhaps I needed to be outside running around or rollerskating. If I did not want to run around outside or play tag, I was not bored… I was feeling introspective. Perhaps what I needed was to sit down and color or create a puppet show.
My adult life is the same way. Bored? The word has little meaning to me. What I do and want to do depends on my moods. Perhaps there are times when I pace the house, not wanting to do any of the things on hand or any of the things I should be doing… again, that is being restless. I am yearning for something else. And I must find what that something else is.
Really, there is no such thing as “bored.” People mistake other emotions and desires for boredom. "Bored" is an excuse for laziness or lack of imagination, or perhaps an unwillingness to simply acknowledge the fact that one is currently happy doing nothing.

The core of all of this is in the French phrase, “I bore myself.” I personally have never been bored. How could I? I am not a boring person. I do not bore myself.

“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”
--Zelda Fitzgerald, “Eulogy On The Flapper”

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