Boredom too far

posted by Jeff | Sunday, February 21, 2021, 10:23 PM | comments: 0

I was amused by an article about boredom in the New York Times, because I've had an interesting relationship with it in the last year. If it weren't for boredom, I may not have created as much stuff as I have, and this seems like a recurring theme for a lot of folks that need to channel energy into something.

But boredom also can serve a useful function. I've always treasured the opportunity to be a little bored now and then, because it gives me time to be present and ponder life. I know some people desperately avoid this, filling up their lives with constant activity because being contemplative might make them uncomfortable. Not me. To sit by myself, and really see leaves blowing in the wind, hearing birds sing or some such shit... those are happy times for me.

There's certainly too much of a good thing in this case, because the things we did a year ago, you know, gather with other humans and do human stuff, we can't do in quite the same way, for now. I mean, even the basic tasks we did, not for social reasons, but practical reasons, like shopping, involve masks and plastic barriers and all kinds of weird shit. We keep seeing evidence that the pandemic is unnecessarily persistent because we're bored with all of this, all the while people are stockpiling money if they can work, and doing stuff that pushes the boundary of what they would ordinarily consider "meaningful." Even when mundane things don't work out, it hurts.

My anecdote about that came today. I've been concerned for some time that one of our cars smells funny because of the air conditioning. So I learned all about how you should change the cabin air filters, and it's a pain in the ass, but what a difference, and here are a dozen videos that show you how to do it. So I ordered the new filters and the foam to clean the coils, and they were supposed to arrive today. I was so excited about doing this when I ordered the stuff in the middle of the night two days ago. Well, the foam shipment apparently got lost or something, and I felt like my whole day was ruined because of it. That's what too much boredom does to you.

Don't get me wrong, work is super exciting. Unusually so, even. But the excitement is still part of a consistent routine, especially when you work in software and organize your work in two week blocks and have a rhythm of ceremonies and meetings. It's imperative in your off-time to break up the rhythm with a different kind of excitement. Like replacing the cabin air filters in your car.

Well, I'll have to be satisfied with a fairly thorough deep cleaning of the interior until that can of foam shows up. Then the car will smell fresh and clean and we can drive to... school. And maybe Chipotle if I'm feeling frisky.


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