Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What's Boredom?

By Annette Dashofy

Depending on what time of day you’re reading this, I’m either on my way to Baltimore or just about to head out the door. As I’m writing, however, it’s Tuesday evening. And I’m almost ready.

I’ve been buzzing around all day trying to remember what I’ve forgotten. I always forget SOMETHING. Usually, it’s something minor. Usually.

As I’ve been struggling to get everything done that needs to be done, I keep remembering something that someone said to me recently. They mentioned that they were bored.

Bored? What’s that?

I can’t remember the last time I was bored. My to-do list prevents even the hint of boredom. I wish I had time to be bored, but I’d only use that time to catch up on my writing. Or reading. Even when our electricity was out for three days thanks to Hurricane Ike, I never ran out of stuff to do. I couldn’t work on my computer, but I could jot down plot notes. I couldn’t run the vacuum, but I could dust (I LOVE Swiffers!). And, of course, I read. It was bliss.

I suppose there may be a case to be made that I overload my plate because I suffer a fear of boredom.


I made a point to not over schedule my time at Bouchercon so I could stay open to spontaneous invitations and whims of fancy. But I have no fear of being bored.

So, I’m curious. Do you get bored? If so, please explain to me how that works. Of course, Joyce and I are on the road, leaving you all to talk amongst yourselves. But I’ll check in once I…well…check in.

Look out, Baltimore! Here we come!


Anonymous said...

OK, here's the too late advice: I created a grid of things to pack that I modify depending on where I'm going and when - it may or may not include beach wear, etc., but it lists everything I need to take with me. I have separate columns for "suitcase," "carryon," "wear," etc. and I print it out and put a mark in the appropriate column whenever I pack or put on an item, then I can tell at a glance whether I've forgotten something crucial (like a toothbrush). This works for me.

Boredom? It doesn't depend upon how much I have to do - if I'm busy doing boring things I'm bored. Some of the things I do at work are intrinsically boring, but they have to be done, so I do them and feel bored. Oh, I can pretend these things are interesting, but I can only fool myself so far. For example, think of doing research on a narrow financial issue, locating and reading twenty or thirty or more detailed decisions that run for dozens of pages in which appellate courts have analyzed the issue (or peripheral/similar matters that might shed light on how an appellate court might analyze that issue in the fact situation of your client)and having to pay close attention while trying to make coherent sense of them and figure out what the prevailing law on that issue might be for application to a real life situation that may not fall exactly into the fact situation of any of the decisions, which may seem to contradict each other. That, to me, is boring.

Annette said...

Hmm, okay, Gina, I'll grant you that one. Maybe there are more than one category for boredom. The people who have complained to me are the not-doing-anything bored types. Sitting around in pajammas until dinner time...well, as a writer who works at home most days, maybe that's a bad example.

As for the list advice, I used to have a prepared list saved on my computer for when we went camping in a tent. Forgotten items could ruin the trip. Your list with different columns is a good one.

Too late for this trip, yes, but good nonetheless.

Okay, I'm outta here, folks! Talk to y'all from Baltimore!

Anonymous said...

Annette, I hope you and Joyce had a safe trip, and I know you'll have fun at B-Con! Please report back to those of us who couldn't make it this year.

Austin Comacho and Charles Benoit are on panels - whatever the topic is they will be a hoot to see.


Jealousy yours,

Anonymous said...

Have a great time, Annette!

I definitely think there are different kinds of boredom.

A therapist I met once pointed out that boredom can be a positive thing. I think he was talking about people who are addicted to drama, e.g. emotionally abusive relationships. I liken the shift to coming out of a very loud rock concert: at first, you can't hear anything. It takes a while for the jangle to die down so you can hear the crickets.

I usually find myself bored when there are lots of things I could be doing but I don't want to do any of them. In that case, I need to figure out what I'm avoiding and go do it. Then I feel better and can sit down and enjoy a good book or TV. :-)

Wilfred Bereswill said...

First off, as an update to my Monday blog, the class went off great. I am now Professor Bereswill.

With the help of Joyce Tremel and Jennie Bentley. I put my proposal in the mail last night. A big thanks to both of them.

Tonight is my library panel with a group of talented local SinC authors. I'm leaving straight from my day job to get there and I won't get home until about 10 PM tonight. I still have not packed for Bouchercon. My flight is at 6 AM on Thursday. I'm not panicking yet.

BORED??? Nah. Actually when I get bored is when I'm doing a low value task knowing that I have a lot better things that I could be doing.

Annette said...

Well, Joyce and I have made it to Baltimore, have signed in and collected a nice bag of books. And we're not in the least bit bored.