I get bored. I have been bored. But I think I have gotten to the bottom of what bores me. By now, regular readers will know I believe quite strongly in the value of distinguishing the external and celestial universe filled with things and with truth from the internal, mental universe filled with feelings, emotions and experiences. And, no surprise, when it comes to boredom, it is the internal universe I want to look at.
Here is a list of things I have told people bore me in the past: art history museums, ballet and opera, musicals and thinking about it, I could go on and on with this list. I shan’t prolong my own complaints any further, suffice to say I have complained about boredom before. But given that boredom (and, more importantly: entertainment, excitement, curiosity and interest) exists entirely in one’s own head, why should I ever have blamed the external world? And, an even better question, when I think these things bore me, why have I chosen to be in these places with people?
I can answer the former pretty easily. It is more convenient to blame the external world for your failures to entertain myself. It says much more to say “I am bored in this museum” than it does to say “this museum is boring”. But, as well as saying more, it also puts a great deal of responsibility on you! It’s your fault.
My answer to the second question is more poignant. Some people bring out the best in you. That is a big part of that nebulous thing we call “intimacy”. I have friends that can, without persuasion, get me to go to places I have already deemed boring. And that is because I can be sure that, in their company, I shall not be bored. I went, without challenge or apprehension, to an art history Museum in Vienna. I went, without question or concern, to the Ulmermünster in Ulm, Germany. I have been on several trips, without protest or defiance, to the Danube River.
People who have known me for a long time in the real world (which is no one that reads this) will know the day-out I peeve and protest the most: the beach: grit and saline and the sounds that drown out your own thoughts and the opportunity to hike for hours and hours. Wait “hike”? What are you talking about? Well, that was my childhood and adolescent experience with the beach: hiking across ugly beaches. And I found it hard to shake that legacy of tedium. It was worse when we went fossil hunting, because we never found any fossils so it was a day of shallowly excavating and area of sand. But all this boredom was in my head. After all, I managed to enjoy 9 hours in an airport just because I was determined to have good time (and flirting with German and Irish fliers). How can an airport be better than a beach? All the difference was in my head.
When I bemoan Gert I am really judging myself for not having the strength to enjoy myself despite her. I am bemoaning the fact that I let her drain the intimacy (as defined above) out of us. I am bemoaning the fact that I had to dwell on things she did and did not do that I didn’t like. All of the boredom, and all of the importance of all of those things that were lacking were my fault; looking at it any other way is being petty and to play the victim narrative about something I could have easily escaped. I was bored because I was boring.