Thursday, January 31, 2008

"I'm a bit bored... can you help?"

For a while now, a running theme in emails from coworkers is boredom. Even better, the sharing is from female coworkers. There is one married with kids, some are married with no kids, and one happens to be living with her boyfriend. This last one brings tears of joy to my heart to know that here in the heartland, someone does try cohabitation and does not just rush into marriage (not saying it's right but live here, and you'll understand). The backgrounds are all pretty different, but the complaint is the same: boring, routine, in a rut.

Usually the email or short work conversation starts with something else and then a "what did you do for the weekend/holiday/last night exchange. I say what I did, show enthusiasm as I always do at work, and ask what they did in return. The beauty of these complaints is that they are prefaced with the phrase "I'm not complaining..." or "I know I have a good life but...". People describe their New Year's Eve celebration as not much, boring, barely had a pulse. Maybe they describe their weekend as boring, watched tv, did jack shit. Maybe they describe their life as stuck in a rut, a bit bored, very routine, "biding my time". That last one scared me. Biding your time to do what: run off to Mexico with your daughter in tow, conquer the world, release poison into the water supply like the Joker. This is the admission phase of the conversation. They lay it out there. I am on the receiving end and am clueless on how to respond as I am a man and we do not understand female problems well. I usually just give a nod, do that concerned look and give them the ok to go on even though I do not really want to hear any nasty detail that might pop up.

The second phase of the conversation is where I hear the reason or lack of reason for the boredom. Sometimes it is a spouse that works 3 jobs. Sometimes it is a busy work schedule (2 jobs of their own and a kid) and they don't have time for much but to relax and veg out when they get a moment. There is the unspoken reason, and I think it is the other half of the marriage. Yup, I'm going to blame the men. No one who admits to a boring routine to me is over 50. We're talking about people in their peak years. A secondary reason that ties into the husbands is communication. I have a strong feeling if these two people communicated better, they would not be so bored. This brings me back to my point of "Why the heck do they tell me, what can I do to help them".

In all honesty, I think they want me to brainstorm so awesome ideas like skydiving, solving the JFK mystery, or a one night trip to Vegas for them. If not, I can at least lighten the mood with jokes as most of these people find me hilarious. Not my word, their word. My wife will say I am very funny, but I would stop short at hilarious. If I were, I'd be doing stand up... hmmm, not a bad idea. Sometimes I get the feeling that they are open about this because I am the guy from the east coast. Since I am still developing relationships at work, they can tell me things and be pretty certain I will tell no one else. The other side to it might be that they are secretly hoping for an affair, and that I too will be bored, willing to whisk them away to some exciting adventure filled with romance as we search for the lost ark of the covenant. Uh oh, the wife better watch out.

My favorite reply is "you can always make a change, it's your life". Ultimately, you do control the free time that you do get that you end up doing nothing with so you end up feeling bored. You have the power to get off your ass and do something even if it is walk around the neighborhood. Boredom is supposedly a nice byproduct of the wonderful, modern society we have created. I really do love my life and thank the heavens that I live in America. I really would not live anywhere else. I do not get bored. I do shit. I think that is what is at the core of these women and their boredom. They do not do shit. They go to work, go to night school, go to a 2nd job, eat dinner, sleep, but they never take a chance and do something just a bit different. Maybe this si how we have progressed. We do a lot of things in the home now and rarely venture out. Movie theater revenues are down, but it can't be due to higher ticket prices as people put home theaters in for thousands of dollars and rent/buy DVDs like mad. People get in a huff over not having an NFL Network game on their cable box, but are too lazy to drive a couple miles to a nearby sports bar. I'm probably on the odd end of the spectrum here as I used to go and sit out in the snow in a beach chair as a teen old cold winter nights because the air felt so pure.

Routines can be comfortable. I am a creature of habit. The familiar is safe. I think this explains why a lot of people stay in bad relationships way longer than they should. The misery who are acquainted with is oftentimes less scary than the unknown of loneliness. I love to see how a person acts when they eat, pick a restaurant or try new food. That is probably a better window on someone's adventurous side than anything else. I've never met a person who is adventurous at a Thai restaurant that turned out to be a dullard. Tolstoy once said that bordeom is the desire for desires.

You get one life.

1 comment:

Kavitha said...

Good one :) i was feeling really bored and googled out some random words - got a chance to read ur blog.