Monday, December 15, 2014
On the Pleasures of Boredom
I indulge myself in the pleasure of boredom sometimes. I've never tried to analyze why but there are various reasons I can think of right away. I enjoy the company of others but sometimes people simply got on my nerves. You know - the unfriendly kind, who presumes that if they talked to you, you might follow them home and setup a bed on their floor and never left. Their eyes dart around and their expressions harden when they spot you. And before you can speak, they've moved their person and their topics of conversation elsewhere so you are left there standing like a complete idiot -- one of those cartoon characters left standing in the sand when the roadrunner had beeped away in a flash of dust. There are also the overly aggressive, who give you the impression that they might setup camp on your front porch if you just talked to them. In this case you'd become the roadrunner and couldn't get away fast enough lest you get caught listening to a story more painful to listen to than having hot tar poured over your head in the middle of the Sahara Desert. There are so few happy people that fit into the narrow slot of wanting to talk to you and wanting you to talk to them, that I find myself exhausted just thinking about the prospect of engaging one more person in conversation.
There are other reasons. My house can be a dump between cleaning days. Living with a son certainly make creating and maintaining a dump easier than you'd think. No matter how many times you invite the cleaners to sprinkle the house with their magic dusts, a gravitational pull stronger than the black hole is at work to return everything to a state of messiness in no time.
That is the truth, that is as long as Junior is home to see to it. He'd throw his overstuffed backpack in the dead center of the living room, his shoes turned upside down at its sides. Two socks, stained with grass, dirt and yellow sweat would find themselves on opposite corners of the sofa, one on top of that pink-flowered cushion where I place my face during naps. They smell lovely too, like beings from another world with a way of spreading its life forces up and away and into you nostrils and stay there permanently (or until the cleaners came back). His jackets, there being several of them on account of his diligent effort to loose them wherever possible, are splayed across the back of the sofas or dinning room chairs like drunken sailors who had lost the will or the mind to pick out places to lay down their soggy, heavy and dirt trodden bodies. The sink is filled with cups in various stages of mourning over their last drinks - foamy white milk or purple berry juice or steamy hot coco. His instruments have long separated from their respective cases, citing irreparable differences. His books, binders, pencils and occasionally a model rocket have moved in as if finding the plush velvet backing of the violin cases irresistible. Evidently they have no regard to their own reputations or that of the music cases. Though I should not be the one to talk, for everything he spreads around the house, I'd eventually go from picking up to complaining to spreading one or more match, leaving the whole state of affairs to the magic dust spreaders and their dispassionate yet effective torrents of labors.
Living in a dump has its advantages. There are days when you don't feel like getting out of bed or your pajamas or whatever things you slept in the night before, and you can't feel too out of place when the place around you is a dump. I feel like that sometimes. The warm comforts of the dusty windows and blinds and socks and paper scattered everywhere so the surface of my walnut desks are no longer exposed, all gave me permission to sink into the messiness inside me -- memories of regrets and unfulfilled longings and overly fulfilled transgressions. They weighed on me with a strong pull as well; even when it ebbs and flows, it is still stronger even than that of the black hole or whatever force that created and expanded the universe, which I read somewhere is still expanding and growing, no one knowing exactly why or into what will we become as this force of expansion translates into results we would see, glaciers melting, mountains moving, oceans roaring or earth quaking for example. These weigh on me as well, the suffering of the earth and its inhabitants, far away as they might be from me, their fate weigh on me like a rock pressing down onto the back of an earthworm trying to loosen small patches of earth above its back and beneath its belly. It knows the power of its own moving or perhaps not, but it indulges in the movement itself more than anything. The knowledge of the rocks ahead and beyond do not shake the belief system of the worm and do not deter its reckless movement through the earth, serving its purpose in life during the moments between its first breath to its last. In that sense I guess I am not like an earthworm but I ought to be.
Perhaps that is why the earth and dust and the rain splattered window comforts me, it reminds me of nature and get me to think about what it might be like to leave everything behind and not think about those things that I ought to think about. I am always told that I ought to think about them because everyone else around me are constantly thinking and talking about them, you know, the things we all ought to shoot for throughout our lives so we can talk to each other about them, whether in pain or in revelation or in the exhilaration of accomplishment I don't know but I do know we talk about them like not just our lives depended on them but the souls of our very existence did. Things like: love, money, fame, success etc., you get the picture.
On those days I sink into a state of boredom the same way a child sinks his teeth into a springy birthday cake. I relish in a state without analysis but let myself be a part of the things that surrounds me as they are. Messy or clean, dusty or sparkly, gloom or shine they all have a place in this world just like the earthworm and the rock and the black hole and the dirty socks.
And like me and my boredom.
So I let my mind wonder or stay still, like the clouds that travels in between sunshine and the rain, or the endless streams of cars that ran on the road just beyond my window. Sometimes I reach out and open my arms as if I can take them all in, filling an endless void inside that had grown deep and wide when I wasn't looking. Other times I lay in the fetal position, arms and legs clawed into my body so I could disappear into the gray void that is around me, pretending to be one of the thousands of dust particles that float in the sunlit air by my window like weightless astronauts. I leave behind the choices of to whom I talk, to where I travel or in what I engage my thoughts and my labor to a vortex of their own spinning. There is no hope of resolution or divinity or those other convenient promises that is often laid upon one who is in such a state or others. Boredom works itself out or not, it has a right to be just like my dirty blinds and clouds and the desert earth that cracked for lack of rain. I lay there not waiting for another sunrise or another spray of light that sprinkles into my eyes so I can feel its warmth over my eyelids, like the hands of a good masseuse. But after enough time boredom too shall pass so I rise without the assurance of love, money, fame or success or even the faint hope of a sock free living room, but I rise nonetheless against the forces of gravitational pulls from all of universe. I rise and shower and dress and comb my hair and shout to the world:
"Get up! It's time for school!"
"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?"
-- Jeremiah 8:22