Exploring the State of Boredom

Karen Madej

Several ways that don’t solve the state of Boredom but are (possibly) quite fun to read about. Plus one, which might inspire you to travel around the country of BOREDOM.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=09XXNV_0YAkJ2S700Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

You know it’s time to change jobs when the highlight of your day is a packet of designer, sea-salted, and hand-cooked crisps but you don’t even like that flavour, and you know crisps give you those little white-headed pimples every time you eat them.

Well, you would change jobs if you could. There’s not exactly much choice around at the moment.

So you check your phone for a new posed pug photo on Insta. Nope, still not that impressed by Instagram.

You spend some time browsing all the wonderful articles online. But your inability to highlight sections of text on your mobile, thanks to the XL baggy latex gloves (the only ones available), which you have to wear to answer two or fewer calls per day has finally got to you. You abandon reading.

You look at the screen of the work laptop, say a little prayer for a call to find you on the random call routing distribution system.

Nothing happens. You are not surprised.

You adjust the ill-fitting headset and wrack your brain for something vaguely interesting to do that doesn’t involve watching Netflix on your phone with subtitles and no sound. Personal earphones are banned at work but nobody says anything if you do use them. Your colleagues are either on their seventh book in four weeks or watching TV shows on their kids’ iPads or chatting.


You know you don’t enjoy shopping, but you do need a new pair of shoes that won’t render your feet so sensitive you have to pad around in your socks in the call centre. You spend all day dreading having to put them back on at going home time.

So you get your phone back out to search for some fashionable old lady shoes. If there is such a miracle item. Good grief, you’ll be looking for a comfortable, yet supportive, bra next. Like such an item actually exists. Still, it could fill a few hours …

You long to go home to flop in front of Netflix to watch Bosch.

To not feel obliged to make conversation when you’d rather be writing but find yourself enjoying getting to know the people who are in the same life raft as you.

To not be deepening the grooves in that space between your eyebrows, what’s it called? Glabella. Yes, you are that bored at your desk, you are looking up the names of body parts.

Frenum for the stringy membrane under the tongue is a noun I admit I have never pondered over. It could come in handy one day. You never know.

You recently read the following quote (or something similar) somewhere. If you wrote it please drop me a private note and I’ll add your name.

‘A routine gives you guidance on what to do. This is for when you feel uninspired or even unmotivated.’

It’s the routine of coming to an open plan office and unearthing things to occupy your brain because you’re bored with all the things you’ve been doing for the previous three weeks.

You are a magpie. You require shiny new things or diverse challenges or excitement. Usually, you are an expert at personal entertainment at home because you’ve worked from home for five years and love it. There are no restrictions on your brain in your flat.

On day five of seven in a row, you slumped.

You’d written an article the day before — the team leaders had turned a blind eye to your personal laptop joining the company one on your desk — and had taken an extra two hours to populate it with images and videos and check again for gramlins (intentional spelling and possible new word) and typos before going to bed.

Six hours of sleep instead of the essential eight was not enough is what you thought, as you rested your forehead on the recently disinfected desk.

You tried to tweet. Attempted reading and writing articles. Read a few pages of the James Patterson book you started two weeks ago. Nothing did the trick.

You’ve been buying naughty food to scoff when you get in from work. Salmon and mushroom stir fry for the second night in a row wasn’t enough vegetable matter to improve your day of doom and gloom.

Too much comfort food and not enough vegetables in the last few weeks have obviously screwed with your optimism. After two episodes of Bosch, you retire early to read more of UNSOLVED (by James Patterson)and nod off wondering what the hell induced this bleakness.

This morning you awoke refreshed. Did a quick twenty sit-ups, something that only happens on rare energy days.

As if guided by some magical force, you disturbed a pile of papers to reveal a book under a printout of your manuscript to be edited (it’ll probably remain there for another year).

The book caused you to reflect on the birthday meal in a favourite restaurant in Prague with all your friends, maybe four years ago when your friend, Suzanna, presented it to you.

The Atlas of Experience by Louise Van Swajj & Jean Klare, English Text by David Winner. SCALE UNIMAGINABLE.

This is what you needed to kick start the day, and your imagination.

In the office, you opened the book to check the contents list. You’d never been in such a situation where you were bored. But you were certain there’d be a chapter on boredom. Yes, page 30. Excellent.

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. ~Ellen Parr

There followed a list of statistics, not just any statistics but boring ones. In fact, they were statistics about boredom, which the authors assured you were more interesting! However, you skipped them. Instead, deciding to take yourself on a journey mapped out while sitting at your desk waiting for a worried citizen to interrupt your day.

You had high hopes of finding an answer to your desperation of the day before.

Endless Sands Beach, a yellow stretch on the map of BOREDOM marked the starting point. You could have crossed green farmland from the village of Potter Around and made your way through the villages of Been There, Yawn, Fingers Tapping and lastly Nothing, but you’d left those experiences behind yesterday.

So you chose to move down the coastline to the end of the Routine River where the lighthouse Open Endings — which you deem most unsatisfactory — where you trekked inland.

Moving swiftly past Drizzle (it was grey and drizzling yesterday), you also gave the rivers Miss and Mope and the village of Droopy a wide berth and headed for Persevere.

Tarrying a while at Lake Swallow to savour roast turkey breast, smoked cheese and mayonnaise on seeded batch slices and wash it down with fresh spring water.

Past the lake, you decided to take your time in Wait, before setting off on the long hike to Couch Potato. Exactly what had happened yesterday.

Excited by the books’ ability to depict your mood swings, you continued down the road through the Swamps of Boredom to the village of Stifle, which wasn’t too far from the Source of Exasperation, which you ignored because you’d been there already and was well aware it would be of no use because it led to the small town of Whine. Best not go there.

You thought about retracing your steps but spotted a sign for the capital city of ROUTINE. Not the world’s biggest fan of, however, routines are necessary to achieve the essential tasks of the day.

Tasks complete, you had the choice of travelling back up through the swamps towards the Extremely Boring Area via the villages of Not Really, Wrong, Frantic and the Itching River, or back across to the coast via In Conclusion, In a Minute and a lighthouse named Looking Forward. A nearby port offered steamboat rides to Adventure.

Regrettably, the port was closed due to a deadly virus.

From Looking Forward and up the coastline you’d find the city of Patience. Perhaps stay the night and then wander through the Sensible hills where your despair would pass through a region called Run its Course the next day before arriving at another beacon, Tower of Strength, from which, you were delighted to note, the village of Solid as a Rock was a short stroll.

As the logical choice, you opted to stay a while in Solid as a Rock, where you discovered Virtue was only a half-day ramble farther up the coast. But that might be going a tad too far outside of your comfort zone.

With your head back in the correct space, life could continue trundling on in the call centre of gloom without dragging you back down to despair.

Until the next seven days in a row shift pattern.

I do hope I have managed to inspire you to explore the country of Boredom. It's really not that boring!

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Passionate about climate change and living a debt-free, sustainable life. Determined to learn how to and build an adobe house or Earthship. The goal is to live off-grid and off the land. Energy for heat and to power electrical devices and appliances will use solar, wind, and hydro-powered electricity. No trees will die to make my home.


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