I have a serious phobia about being bored. I mean, no one likes being bored, but I actually get panicky at the thought of being trapped somewhere with people who are boring. It is for this reason I do not go on cruises. Imagine being stuck in the middle of the ocean with people who are droning on and on about which model of Keurig coffeemaker is the best. [For the record, I think Keurigs are the biggest scam ever perpetrated. People:  it’s instant coffee! And it’s costing you 50 cents a cup!]

I am sure this is why smartphones were invented. As long as I have internet access, I can never be bored, thanks to my smartphone. And even without internet access, I can play many lovely games on the phone to occupy my mind.

Much has been sacrificed in the name of reducing possibilities for boredom. I am not proud to say I have shed numerous friends who became intolerably boring. They were fascinating in college, so what happened? It’s a mystery to me how someone who was so hilarious at 2 am before a final exam has absolutely nothing new to say a mere 40 years later.

When my sons were younger, they needed my help in avoiding boring friends. One of my sons had a friend who would not take no for an answer. Boring friends are always like that. So if my son said he was busy on Saturday, this kid would respond, “How about Sunday? How about Monday? How about Tuesday?” Once, during a school break, in desperation we invented a Jewish holiday. “Sorry, I can’t play with you this whole week because it’s Ch’Avoi-do Bor-eh-dom, you know, one of those 8-day Jewish holidays.” That was a smashing success, at least for those 8 days.

I don’t know why being bored is such a terrible fate. Perhaps it’s my age and the feeling that I don’t want to waste the precious minutes remaining in my life. Even if I live to be as old as Nelson Mandela, there are fewer years left than I would prefer. Why should I waste them at an office meeting? Or any kind of meeting, for that matter? Have you ever been to an interesting meeting?

Why don’t people realize they are boring? And I mean they REALLY are totally clueless. Then there are people who repeat stories, and even if I can work up the nerve to tell them I’ve heard it before, THEY STILL WON’T STOP!

“Did I ever tell you about the client who showed up in court wearing pajamas in 1977?”

“Uh, yes, I am pretty sure you have told me that story on quite a few occasions.”

“Really? OK, well, here’s what happened….”

AAARRRGGHH! I could recite the story word for word with the colleague and he would not pick up on my desire not to hear this story for the fiftieth time.

What about when I have a TON of work to get done by the end of the day, and a colleague has just finished a big project and she wants to decompress? She’s got all the time in the world, whereas I have to get something e-filed by 5 pm or I will mess up the whole case. Sometimes I have actually turned to the computer and typed while the friend chatted away. Did she get the hint? Of course not.

This does not include my children and their stories about things that matter to them. Even when I wasn’t able to follow their descriptions of their Super Mario Brothers conquests, I still loved listening to them explain excitedly how they saved the princess.

Now I realize I am not endlessly fascinating all the time, so I can’t expect everyone else to be that way. Perhaps we each need a “Get Out of Boredom” card that we can use, maybe one per day, without hurting anyone’s feelings.

Does anyone have any other suggestions (other than “Try being more tolerant!”)?

 

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