In a recent romance I read (a European historical), there is the following dialogue between the heroine and her suitor:
“… If you turn polite on me now, I shall become very bored indeed.” – “And that’s the very worst, isn’t it? Becoming bored?” – “I detest it. I will go to great lengths to avoid it.”
Intellectually, I completely get the purpose of this little exchange. A rapport between two rather unconventional people is established, and after all this is the regency period, during which a lady of the upper classes and a son who had not yet inherited really did not have very much to do.
But emotionally, the characters lost me there and then. What’s wrong about a little boredom? I honestly wish I had more chances to it in my own life.
I realise I am fortunate: I have a job which I love, and which offers lots of variety. I actually enjoy most sorts of housework, so don’t mind doing it. And I have a nice circle of friends, and interesting hobbies. What I lack is time, especially time that is completely off. While I’m not an workaholic, even my spare time is usually filled either with reading, solving a sudoku, watching a show in TV, surfing the net, doing some household chore, or phoning a friend. Hardly ever is there any Leerlauf (idling with motors, but in German we also use it in the figurative sense). I seem to remember the last time I really experienced this for anything longer than quite short periods was somelthing like 10 years ago.
So, with all sympathy with the ladies and gentlemen who are afraid of being bored to death in historical romances, don’t bash boredom. It can be lovely to have, it can release creativity, and I appreciate it very much.
What’s your attitude towards boredom?
– Rike Horstmann
High school teacher. Soccer fan (Werder Bremen, yeah!). Knitter and book-binder. Devotee of mathematical puzzles. German.
Thanks for the link, Jean. A very charming article!
Although I have to admit that I tend to daydream incorrectly a lot while on public transport (never standing in front of the door, however!).
I read somewhere recently that only lazy people ever get bored, and I suppose this is true. Around my house, if there’s nothing on TV, no one to talk to on the phone, the computer is uninteresting, etc etc etc, then there’s always a weed that needs pulling or an animal that needs brushing, laundry waiting to be done – something!
And I totally get your heroine.
Thanks for that Rike! Linking a slightly related op-ed from the NYT about daydreaming that I think fits nicely with your theme.