The Bored Ultimatum

When was the last time you were bored? Maybe you’re bored right now, reading this. It would make sense; the word ‘bored’ has already appeared four times and I haven’t really said anything about it yet. But here you are, still reading.

It’s very easy to condemn people that get bored frequently, and yes I’m going to return to my well of blaming the modern world, but I do realise that complaining about technology on a blog is a perfect exemplum of biting the hand that feeds. But all information available at all times is quite a distraction, and one that for younger generations will easily trump more traditional past-times like reading, playing board games, or tilling acres of farmland. I do wonder if there is something inherently more entertaining about physical games such as Mousetrap and Operation over video games, or if it’s just nostalgia, mixed with generational pride. On paper, which is more entertaining? Entering a painstakingly photo-real world full of fantastic creatures, weapons, quests and locations, within which you can explore for hours without running out of content? Or a plastic mat with multi-coloured circles on? It’s the age-old question of RPG or Twister. Spending time with other people, within a framework such as a game is a great way to feel like you’re ‘doing’ something, and the physical aspect of board games feels like a more concrete way of socialising. But there’s definitely an arrogance to the argument that what can still entertain my generation and older, wouldn’t be enough to sustain a ten-year-old for an afternoon, especially if you decide to place blame on the ten-year-old, as though preferring Skyrim to Pogs requires a cognizant choice. If you’ve ever thought about what it would be like if time travellers sent some future technology back to our time (and if you haven’t, why not), then maybe you came to the conclusion that that it would speed up our advancements – that we’d leap forward fifty years in an instant. But I think we have to advance at the correct pace. If you travelled back a few hundred years with distractions like an Etch-A-Sketch and a laser pen, maybe we’d now be living in a world without necessities like underground sewage, or Tesco.

But feeling bored is also down to your own personality, as much as what’s around you, and in fact there are different kinds of boredom. Broadly separated into two types, these are trait boredom, and state boredom:

Trait boredom is what encourages you to make sure you have all the correct pieces of album artwork in your iTunes library, basically a longer term feeling that you quell in order to stem the thoughts of mortality and futility. Also known as ennui, existential angst, or what Tyler Durden calls being the ‘all singing, all dancing crap of the world’. Netflix is also great for this.

State boredom is more related to your immediate situation. It’s the feeling you get as a child when being dragged round a supermarket, or as an adult when being dragged around Ikea. It’s having to make small talk with friends of friends who regurgitate popular opinion as though it’s their own. Notable examples include:

“Oh my god! Isn’t Stranger Things incredible?!”

“Well of course, pick n’ mix is how they make their money.”

“Isn’t it funny? When Andy Murray wins he’s British, but when he loses he’s Scottish! Hahaha!”

“Freddos have got more expensive haven’t they?”

I don’t think either one of these types of boredom is necessarily more common, although I definitely suffer more from trait boredom than state. A general feeling of anxiety that pervades my life, preventing me from feeling able to enjoy small inanities without feeling guilty I’m not doing something more worthwhile (“better give up on the blog then eh?” hahaha oh you). If I’ve ever bad-mouthed such things on this blog before, such as Gogglebox, it’s borne out of jealousy that I just can’t find the pleasure in something so simple. And the fact that Gogglebox is a densely packed wad of shit.
If, unlike me, you suffer more from state boredom, a feeling that creeps up in a moment, when you find yourself at a loss, perhaps you’ve ended up searching on the internet for a short-term cure.

Well, since you’re on the internet now, I thought I’d give you my own list of things to stave off boredom, to save you the trouble of looking.

So, if you feel bored, why not:

Get to know the smells of different trees.

Learn every language.

Put your DVDs into reverse alphabetical order, then memorise the titles as one continuous word.

Create holsters for two stapleguns and have a death-duel.

See if you can make a cat laugh.

Befriend a movie star.

Eat some soup.

Go into a pub you’ve never visited before and ask for ‘the usual’.

Drink some soup.

Superglue some Blu-tac to some Sellotape.

Master the crane style.

Haunt a children’s hospital.

Become vegan for forty-five minutes.

Convince all your friends you’ve never heard of ‘paint’.

Steal loads of wing mirrors and turn them into some shit art.

Buy a house.

That should keep you busy for a while. And if it doesn’t, maybe just get a hobby. Bear in mind anything goes. I just spent a good fifteen minutes writing that stupid list for example. And I occasionally think of myself as a ‘writer’. Incredible isn’t it?

Being bored is good, it means you have the desire to better yourself, to educate yourself. It means you have an awareness that your current environment is not stimulating enough, and that you know that should change. And remember, if all else fails, there’s always alcohol.

Next time on the Bandwagon, I finally reveal how, through a strict diet and beauty regime, I still look so good at the age of 53.