Picking at the Bedspread

Today’s Daily Prompt asked what bores me…

I hate knowing what happens next. I used to evaluate screenplays for movie studios, and at a rate of 10 per week, it got so that no plot twist could surprise me. That was a long time ago, but even now, gratitude wells up whenever a book or movie surprises me, even if I otherwise loathe the piece. One reason I loved the Harry Potter series was that in all those thousands of pages and hundreds of plot turns, there were only a scant few that I saw coming.

Curiously, although I prefer surprises and novelty, I have spent most of my life as a control freak. (Working on it! Working on it!) Perhaps as my aging memory worsens I will be able to have it all:  exert control, forget I exerted control, enjoy surprise at the events I caused to unfold.

Am I kidding? Control freaks never unfold events. Control freaks have only an illusion of control.

The predictable bores me, and I detest being bored. Being bored. Saying it that way suggests that an outside force imposes the boredom. In fact, whether I get bored or not depends on me. To cop a phrase from a recent movie trailer, boredom is a choice. If I’m bored, I should be able to redirect my attention or reconstruct my attitude and eliminate the boredom.

Which all sounds fine in theory. Routine repetition is the deal-breaker.

Typically I avoid that kind of boredom by tuning out and looking inward. This has some good consequences. For example, I tune out the mind-numbing repetition of brushing my teeth – day after frigging day – and while brushing my teeth I have excellent writing ideas. Moral of that story:  if your writing stalls out, brush your teeth.

I tune out while driving. I’ve lived and worked in the same places for several years so I long ago exhausted all the new ways to commute.  But the space-out can be too complete.  On my way to work and suddenly I come to and I don’t recognize where I am.  The adrenaline jolt certainly fights boredom, but the backtracking and rewinding do not start my day well.

I still remember the first time I experienced boredom. I was a kid, it was the dregs of summer, my friends were elsewhere. I lay on the floor of my room, picking at the bedspread, overwhelmed by there being absolutely nothing I felt like doing.  I don’t remember all that much about my childhood but that moment is indelible.

Do you remember the first time you were bored?


Do Grown-Ups Get Bored?

Childhood was long ago but I clearly remember the pain and horror of boredom. Nothing to do, no one to play with, can’t go outside, and so forth.

I can’t remember the last time I was bored (except at certain work meetings or airports). Have I learned to embrace the moment and appreciate every day? Or have I dropped my expectations?

I no longer remember boredom but surely I must get bored. Tedious conversations and situations abound. I mean I drive in southern California, people. I must get bored but the boredom is no longer memorable.

Or maybe there’s a guilt component. I can’t be bored, I have too much to do.

Or maybe I remember childhood boredom because it was such a novelty. Maybe nowadays it is my status quo.

Maybe the boredom at work meetings is a key to understanding.  Maybe what underlies boredom are issues of choice and control. Surely I still stream boring movies, start boring books. But – ha and aha – nowadays I don’t have to finish them. And if the opening act is no good I can always go play with my phone  in the lobby.

I don’t seem to be coming to closure on this. How about for you? Are you more bored or less bored than you were 10 years ago? Than you were as a kid?