Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for July: (7/6) Jennifer J. Chow (7/13) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 1--Ice Cream Shop Mystery), (7/20) Susan Van Kirk, (7/27) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 2--Ice Cream Shop Mystery).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bored? Who me?

This past Sunday, our priest’s homily touched on boredom and people locked into a rigid routine that never changes. He mentioned people of all ages: bored children, bored office workers, bored mothers cooking, cleaning and caring for children, etc. Somewhere in the homily he mentioned elderly people who never try anything new. I was going to call him on that after Mass, but a big storm had come up minutes before Mass ended and the lobby was full of people afraid to go out in the storm. So I put my umbrella up and braved the pouring rain mixed with thunder and lightning and didn’t get a chance to tell him that he made assumptions about those of us in the so-called elderly category.

I am almost never bored. The only time I get bored is if I’m in some meeting, which since I retired is rare. Very few meetings catch my interest as they seem to go on and on and on reiterating what was already said. That’s why I don’t get involved very much with anything that involves meetings. I don’t consider my book clubs actual meetings, but we don’t have officers, collect dues or take minutes. We discuss books and laugh a lot especially if it’s my evening book club that includes dinner and wine. My morning and lunch book club is a lot of fun, too, and not boring either. And then there is my local writers group meetings where we share our work and also find much to laugh about – although not about anyone’s work unless it’s a funny piece. For instance, my humorous short stories that end with a twist. My local Sinc chapter is usually good, too.

I’m never bored waiting in a doctor’s or dentist’s office because I always have a book or a TIME magazine with me to read, or sometimes I eavesdrop on conversations thinking about how I can work it into a story. I will admit to getting bored if I’m with a shopper, and I haven’t brought anything along to read. The shopper usually tells me they just want to look at one thing. Yeah, right! I’ve heard that too many times to believe them.

Most of the times I go anywhere, it’s to deliver Mobile Meals, which I enjoy, or a family event, and those are always fun. I enjoy Church, concerts, plays, camping trips and trips to garden centers.  If I have to fly somewhere, I have books to read and the flight goes reasonably fast so again I’m not bored. While waiting for the flight to board there is also people watching. I enjoy that, too.

At home, I’m never bored. How could I be? There are walks in the woods, animals to care for, gardening to do from early spring through late fall, and writing. When I’m done with all those activities, there are books. How can anyone be bored when there are so many good books to read?

When I went to find pictures for this blog, over and over one saying came up: Only boring people are bored. I remember telling that to my children during the summer and also to my students if they complained they were bored. For me there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do. How can I be bored?

Are you ever bored and if you are, when and why?


E. B. Davis said...

I'm not bored, I'm overwhelmed. Dirty laundry is lurking in my basement because my less than three year old machine broke on Monday. The repair people won't be here until Friday. When I have a spare minute, I think, now would be a great time to do a load of wash. Then, I realize, I can't! It's driving me nuts.

The summer starts our birthday go-round. Everyone I know was born in the summer, making me shop and making me cross! This is my busy time of year. I love summer, but it is filled to the brim.

You're doing everything right, Gloria. I wish I could balance it all. Boredom--I'd never wish for, but I've always wanted a more leisurely life. How cool not to have to rush through everyday. Never happen.

Jim Jackson said...

Boredom is caused by a lack of imagination. If I were ever bored, it is all on me and not the situation. Even in boring meetings I can fantasize, plan my next book, people watch, be subversive…

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

E.B. this time of the year is the worse for me, too. Lots of birthdays in May and a few in June. Then there are the graduation open houses, and showers for weddings or babies. On top of all that there is so much to do in the gardens, and it doesn't help that we've had more than our share of rain since March. Next week one of my book clubs is meeting here for lunch. I wanted the gardens to look presentable, but that's not going to happen. And since most of them have never been here, I want my house to be equally presentable so when can I find time to write? So like you, sometimes I want a much quieter life.

Jim, I tend to let my mind wander through boring meetings, too, but only occasionally does it include productive ideas for writing. You're lucky that you can do it. However, years ago there was this young teenager who sat near me in church, and I've held him in my mind and plotted a story about him. I haven't used it yet because it will take place in one of my books that are in the winter. And one of the elderly men in my church became Ira in my last book.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Active participation, whether doing something or thinking about something, is a great remedy to avoid boredom. Your interest in and zest for life are wonderful invigorators, Gloria. Thanks for reminding us always to be involved and engaged. It's a personal choice.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks, Paula. Sometimes I wish I weren't as involved, but then I can't think of what I'd give up. Today I'm delivering Mobile Meals and I look forward to visiting with the other volunteers while waiting for the meals to be ready and even more in taking a few minutes to visit with the people I deliver to. And I can't give up my book clubs or my writing groups. And certainly I'm blessed with having family and friends.

KM Rockwood said...

When I was teaching in an alternative high school, one excuse many students used for their misbehavior (usually they got it straight from their parents, who were sure the little geniuses were misunderstood) was that they were "bored" by their classes and so acted out. We'd point out various activities in which they could engage if their regular work was done--which it seldom was. And sometimes we'd note that "Boring people are easily bored."

I can think of a few situations in which boredom is a real burden. I have a cousin who is mentally alert but paralyzed from the neck down. He's in a nursing home and while the staff is caring and does the best they can, he spends hours lying there alone.

The worst part of a lengthy incarceration is boredom. Especially if someone is in segregation for a long time. We are social animals, and lack of intereaction, or even the sensory deprivation that comes from being locked in a windowless cell with nothing to do for days, does something to the human mind.

Most people who are truly "bored" are probably suffering from serious depression. That can make everything seem colorless and useless, which leads to a feeling of boredom.

Warren Bull said...

One situation comes to mind for me. When I am getting medication in the IV room at the doctor's office. They take my blood and hook me up with am IV. Then I have to wait for the lab results before I get Zometa. My mobility is limited and it can and does take hours before they can give me the medication,

Shari Randall said...

I think I'll second EB - boredom, no, overwhelmed, yes…. So many things one has to do, and only so much energy to marshal for the things I want to do. Now I just make sure that I always have a book or notebook with me in case I find any little pockets of downtime during the day. And books on tape can be a lifesaver while driving to work. I love to listen to different kinds of music, but found that I could only keep up with my book club reading if I listened to the books during my commute. Maybe a book to listen to would help during your medical appointments, Warren.

Gloria Alden said...

KM, you make some excellent points that ring true. I recently heard on NPR that there's an organization that is working to do away with isolation in youth lockup facilities. It's inhuman at any age, but much worse for young people, I imagine.

There was a neighbor of mine years ago who was paralyzed from the neck down. His wife and daughters took excellent care of him, but it had to be depressing at times. I seem to remember that he was able to read and whether he was able to turn pages or not, I don't know. I do know that visitors were welcomed, but only after he was bathed and cared for. I also had a student in a wheelchair, who had an aid to take care of her. She had a trac and had difficulty talking with it, but could still make herself heard. She couldn't use her hands, but she would tell her aide what colors she wanted in pictures and she was a phenomenal speller always getting 100s on her tests. She had been this way since she was about a year old and always seemed cheerful and enthusiastic. She eventually went to college, too.

And you are right about depressed people. It's an illness that can be debilitating in more ways than one.

Warren, that has to be a difficult time for you. I assume you can't even hold a book to read while that is going on.

Sarah Henning said...

I'm with E.B.: I'm never bored, I'm overwhelmed. All the freaking time. I'd actually love to be bored for once!

Kara Cerise said...

Gloria, your energy and passion for life is inspiring.

Feeling sick, in pain, or going through medical treatment can be draining to the point where even reading a book is exhausting. I remember being curled up on the couch recovering from a root canal gone wrong and watching hours of “Murder She Wrote” and “Mannix” re-runs on cable TV. I was bored, but couldn’t think of a better alternative.

Patg said...

I still get a little bored, but that's because I still haven't settled down from retiring several years ago. I used to have a multitude of things to do, and the phone rang continuously demanding I add to that list of things,and staying unpaid overtime to try and catch up on the oldest items. Then grateful for a quiet bus ride home, I made lists of thing I'd forgotten. Then start the whole thing over the next day.
When I wake up worried sick that I have to hurry and get something done, then realize I don't really have that much on my agenda, I get a little bored until I start my first task. Okay, sometimes between 4P and 5P, I get a little bored. :)

Gloria Alden said...

Pat, when I was teaching my days went from early morning until about ten at night. There were always papers to grade, lesson plans to make, etc. as well as household, gardening or family activities. It got a little easier after I retired, but I was still busy, and that's when I joined two book clubs and started delivering Mobile Meals and writing more, of course. But not everyone wants to be as busy as I am, and I understand that. We're all different.