There is a popular saying which states that ‘only boring people get bored’. I’m assuming it is popular. If it wasn’t, I doubt I’d have heard of it, but I can’t seem to attribute it to anyone in particular. Boring people presumably do get bored, but I think other people might get bored sometimes too. I’ve felt bored loads of times. Am I a boring person? Maybe.
When I’m bored, I like to find an over complicated word to describe something commonly referred to by another name, then drop it into conversation with someone, and act stupendously shocked when the unsuspecting party does not know what it means.
“What does ennui mean? Why it means ‘bored’, of course! You should read more; you’re falling behind my level of repartee [banter]!” There’s nothing like talking down to a close friend or family member for your own amusement, and the experience will pay dividends in keeping you anti-bored. You can think about it for days, weeks, months, even years. You’ll laugh to yourself, thinking, “Oh I got them so good that day. I wonder what they’re up to now? They don’t really speak to me anymore. Come to think of it, no one does.”
Boredom is the modern day plague, being passed from indifferent subject to indifferent subject. Our toxic boredom leaves us believing that there’s nothing left on Netflix that is worth watching, that our phone’s limitless capability is incapable of keeping us entertained, and allowing quick-fire apps like TikTok to flourish, because it removes the inconvenience of ‘thinking’ and ‘focusing on a single thing for more than 30 seconds’. We can’t even be bothered to have a favourite news outlet anymore, so we let social media tell us what news articles to read. Gone are the days of ‘journalistic integrity’, whatever that means. It’s all about clicks, clicks, clicks. Loyalty is just an archaic word now. We just open whatever is thrown onto our newsfeeds, moving seamlessly from one to the next, allowing the algorithm to dictate what we do next. One minute you’re reading about the Kardashians and how they wore clothes to something, the next you’re in the bowels of an extremist apologist page, finding yourself agreeing with the discourse, yet not realising that you’ve slowly been inveigled [persuaded].
We trust the algorithm of social media websites so sincerely that it is a shame it is a faceless, lifeless entity. We’d probably rather be friends with that than most of our real life friends; definitely our family – we don’t even get to choose them, so we’re bound to not like them. Besides, the algorithm takes time to learn what we like. Damn, it even tells us what we like. Over time it actually decides what we like, and it is far more adroit [skilful] at figuring it out than we could ever be.
But we like that, don’t we? I don’t have enough time to decide what I actually like in life anyway, so I’d rather let AI do it for me. That way I can dedicate more of my time to having nothing to do. I can maximise my boredom even more efficiently if I start to ask Chat GPT to write my blog posts for me, then get it to answer the comments from the community too, then hopefully, in time, it will attend my family Christmas meals for me, and make friends with my colleagues, and even do my work. In the future, it might even be a good husband to my wife for me, freeing up even more time for me to do absolutely nothing. I’ll have so much time to be bored – it’s going to be terrible. I can’t wait!
Boredom is promoted in our society, as the antidote to boredom is buying more things, going on more holidays and disliking others more for being less bored than you. That creates an environment where evil can flourish, the type of evil that is above boredom, and is ready to pounce on those negative feelings. Sure, we can eat grapes all year round thanks to globalisation, but that isn’t enough to feel happy, is it? No – we’re bored of all of that. Yet, while we sit bored, Putin is invading Ukraine, Amazon is the only company left in the world and James Corden still has a career, despite being a despicable human being who would pander to an autocratic psychopath if it would advance his career in any way possible. Avarice [greed] is held in high-esteem, whilst being satisfied is looked down upon, as if one is never supposed to feel content with what they have.
Yet even I, with my erudite [learned] understanding of ennui [boredom], occasionally fall into the trap. I’ll be sitting at home, too tired to read and the evening still too young for me to go to sleep, and I’ll think to myself – “isn’t life boring?” I wait for a response from the universe… nothing. Knew it; that would be too interesting. The mind can enter a free-fall mode when it is in this sort of defeatist mood. Everything reinforces that negative feeling; you message a friend to see what they’re doing and they don’t text you back for 30 minutes… well they obviously despise you and think you’re boring and don’t like you and are probably sat talking to someone about how annoying you are right that very second. You get off the sofa and try to cook something, but you’re out of that one spice that you need… so you plan on going to the shop, but the shop closes in 20 minutes. Besides, they never have that ingredient anyway – they’re always sold out of it. You’re always walking up to the shelf just as the last one is snatched up by someone better looking than you, right in front of your very eyes. Then you hate them for taking it, and for being better looking than you. They probably never get bored.
But there are people in the world who have a curiosity which pays dividends. Simple things can deliver a world of intrigue and pleasure, if allowed. For me, I like to find interesting words and write them down in the Notes application of my phone. I’ve got a long list of interesting words, with a short definition next to each, so I can trawl back through them when I’m sat around drinking my coffee in the morning, and recite the ones that I particularly like back to myself. Sometimes the sound of a word is pleasing, such as the word ‘vexatious’, which is defined as ‘causing or tending to cause annoyance, frustration, or worry’. Other words have a pleasing definition, such as the word ‘syllogism’, which is defined as ‘an instance of a form of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn from two given or assumed propositions’.
(Vexatious actually sounds cool to say AND has a pleasing definition, but I couldn’t squander an opportunity to use ANOTHER word as an example).
Well, I am declaring war on being bored. My promise to myself is to never be bored again. Not by burying myself in social plans and never being alone; no. I’m going to become a master of being alone. I am going to abandon my loquacious [talkative] nature, which demands that I seek out large groups of friends and make them laugh until their jaws hurt (which I am an expert at on my good days, honestly). I’m going to watch paint dry for so long that I am engaged in it’s story, like watching Breaking Bad, or the first 5 seasons of Dexter (and strictly no further). I’m going to read the dictionary for fun – riding the pages like a rollercoaster, until I slam the back page closed and wonder where the time went. I’ll read the dictionary with such enthusiasm that my sobriquet [nickname] will be ‘Dictionary Dan’! My dictionary will be my closest confidant, never to be read sub rosa [in private].