We grumble, we run, we fuck

A: Do you ever get bored?

M: Yes, I do get bored. But I go to great lengths not to.

A: What kind of things do you do to avoid getting bored?

M: It depends what time of day it is. During the day I ride my bike or go running, in the afternoon I read, and in the evenings I have sex and suchlike. At night I force myself to sleep, with passionflower that is.

A: Sounds like you are bored the whole time or that you’re on the run from boredom day and night.

M: Apart from when I am doing something with my friends, I am bored. I stop being bored when I’m at the cinema or out for dinner or at a concert. Otherwise I’m just bored.

A: What about when you are at work?

M: I get even more bored there. I hate my job. It’s at work I go on Grindr the most. What’s worse is that I must look productive while doing it.

A: Boredom is often associated with lack of activity, with empty, unproductive, inactive time, spent waiting for something to happen. But the truth is that when we are “bored” we are always doing something.

M: If only I could do nothing without getting bored. Boredom for me is a sense of discomfort that goes beyond what I am doing. Boredom doesn’t let me read. It doesn’t let me stay in bed and listen to music or watch a film in streaming.

A: If you can’t do any of these things, what is it you do? What do you do in those moments? From your description you seem kind of paralysed…Do you just stand still waiting for it to pass?

M: I walk around the house. I stand in front of the open fridge a lot. It’s as if I have the feeling that if I stand still, everything around me and that is making me feel bored will not change. And so I keep myself busy with inconclusive movements. Until I decide I’ve had enough and I go out running.

A: It’s a never-ending escape. But you also appear to be constantly busy … your body is always engaged in some sort of activity … with boredom always breathing down your neck. Is boredom stress? Is it anxiety?

M: To me boredom is to see that set of unchangeable things around me. Those unchangeable (or seemingly unchangeable) things I partly constructed myself and partly found already there. The things that make me grumble, and piss me off. That’s when anxiety and then stress get hold of me. Because I’m an anxious person.

A: It’s an ongoing whirlwind of energies…David Foster Wallace once wrote: “Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (tax returns, televised golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into colour. Like water after days in the desert. Constant bliss in every atom.”

M: But they are all wasted. My energies that is. Surprising isn’t it? At least he had fame and the pompous name to go with it. All I got out of it is my nervous gastritis and an irritable bowel syndrome.

A: I was wondering what your thoughts would be on this, and your answer doesn’t surprise me.

M: Why?

A: Because it seems to match perfectly with what he says about boredom. I realized that during a particularly hard time when I couldn’t bring myself to be productive, even though I was supposed to, I sank into what I recognized as boredom. The more I felt the need to produce the more I tried to escape that moment… I used to get bored, I “wasted my time” doing things I believed were absolutely useless. And I felt guilty. I associated boredom with that incapability of producing something that was … I don’t know … something that could be at least an attempt, an answer to what I was looking for. Something that could translate my thoughts into some shape, into a vision, maybe. And being incapable of doing this, in feeling distressed with my results, I realized (surprise surprise, as you say) that I was actually doing a lot. And that my incapability of not answering contained an answer … it contained a dynamic.

M: In my opinion, this is finding a way out where in fact there isn’t one. I believe that what happens to me and what has happened to you is something very common. However, each one of us defines it in different and available terms, making it seem a different story even when it is not so.

A: We need to look for outlets. Or maybe it’s even easier than that, maybe it’s only a matter of staying where we are in a different way, just changing our position.

M: Or maybe we must surrender and cry just a bit longer XD

A: But we cry anyway …. Sometimes I can’t define the boundaries of boredom. We cry, we run, we fuck.

M: I personally complain rather than cry. And complaining is not as cathartic as crying all your tears. Running or cycling are cathartic for me. They are a good patch.

A: Complaining can be cathartic for me … at least you realize what a whiner you are, bothering those listening to you. How do you visualize boredom? Let’s close on this point … If I picture you running or whizzing around on your bike I see a route, a line. But I’d like to know how you see it.

M: A circle. It’s the perfect enclosed shape. You keep on running and never reach the end. And no corners to mark the way.

A: A circle is a good shape… whereas the ellipse wouldn’t pair well with boredom…

M: Even the ellipse could serve the same purpose, actually. But I am not so sophisticated.  An ellipse just does not come to my mind when I can resort to the overworked circle, of course.

A: It’s raining here. I don’t know whether to escape and find refuge in the subway or stay home and keep on brooding about the things I am not doing.

M: You can keep on brooding about the things you are not doing even if you are out, can’t you? So go then. Get out.

A: Get out…I hate the rain… I’m like an animal who is afraid of water…

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the sound of boredom

J: How are you doing?

D: Just got back home, sitting on the couch, reading about boredom related to America Psycho…in Italy it’s 8.17pm…

J: I’m just at home being bored. But should be doing something to change that

D: let’s talk about that. do you write to people because you’re bored?

J: At times, yes I do

D: how would you define boredom?

J: I’m stealing the language from somewhere else, but “restless, irritable and discontent.” It’s a state of craving something, without being able to find a solution.

D: like diversions? Tell me about your solutions….

J: I seek diversions, but boredom is a time when those aren’t fulfilling.                            Many are pleasure driven…smoke, food, drinks, sex

D: probably it’s because as soon as we get used to a diversion we start craving for a new one…and so on.

J: Partially it. I think there are those that crave more than others and have a harder time finding stimulation. I have to say, I theorized a lot regarding pleasure, desire and addiction. So this has influenced me a lot.

D: People have their own personal idea about boredom.

J: I would think so, yes

D: there are people who are constantly escaping from boredom

J: And there are some people who don’t need much stimulation,                                           who don’t need to escape boredom

D: Is it because they know how to deal with it? It’s not easy to enjoy boredom…maybe it’s impossible because if you enjoy it then it’s not boredom anymore…

J: Some people have learned or found a way not to deal with it, but I don’t think it’s a problem for everyone.

D: Of course not

J: Or some people have found lives, which don’t have time for it

D: But it’s a problem for many

J: I think so, yes

D: what were you doing now that made you said you were bored?

J: I am unemployed and haven’t found a way to fill my time. I’m restless. And don’t know what to do. There are plenty of productive things I should do, but I don’t want to.         There are plenty of less productive ways to kill time, but I don’t want to do those either.

D: Sounds like you’re temporarily stuck between two forces.                                                     Do you feel a pressure from the outside?

J: Definitely so. And pressure from myself

D: Sometimes the more pressure you feel the more stuck you are.

J: That’s very true. And I feel stuck quite a lot

D: too many options or not options at all?

J: No, just not options that I like. I’m not easily motivated, so I stand still, and then become bored, which traps me

D: Did you feel less bored when you were working?

J: Not especially. Some days. But my job became less of a challenge, which became boring. The easier it was, the less I wanted to do it

D: I know that feeling

J: Like I said, I need stimulation. Either stimulation, or to numb myself a bit.

D: Tell me about the last time you felt bored…what did you do?

J: This morning? Yesterday morning. Smoked, watched porn, jerked off. I often times end up drinking if I can’t find a way out of it

D: do you think it’s a waste of time? do you feel guilty?

J: Many times yes. I have been trying to meditate more. To calm my mind.                          The goal is to clear my mind so I can act without anxiety. There is a lot of anxiety in boredom.  I am often disconnected. Between my internal reality and the external

D: I can imagine that…I met you just once but I had a feeling…

J: And did it come across as boredom?

D: No, at that time I was attracted to you. You seemed distant…a bit nervous. there was something magnetic about it, I couldn’t stop staring at you. Only few minutes ago I was asking myself if you were bored that night, among those people. I mean before we started to speak 😉

J: I likely was. I can’t remember where I was

D: I wasn’t in your group, but it looked like you didn’t speak much, that you were lost in thought. but you told me you like to be on your own, right?

J: I speak when I have something to say. I don’t like wasting words. I’ve gotten better with small talk though. I often like to be on my own, yes

D: wasting words, wasting time. a reaction to boredom is to speak a lot. To fill a silence that is felt heavy, embarrassing.

J: Yes. Though not with good results. Is your boredom silent?

D: Voltaire once said that being a bore is to tell everything…

J: If you are able to tell everything, chances are you don’t have much to tell.                    That’s quite boring.

D: is my boredom silent?…good question! Usually I’m bored when I’m alone…so in a way I’m silent…but one reaction is to chat with strangers, looking for a conversation so I’m not that silent after all…

J: But there isn’t noise inside your head?

D: not all the time. sometime I just go into a state where my thoughts are so stretched. Then after when I think about it, I just don’t remember where I was exactly, where my minds were

J: That sounds like a much more pleasant state.

D: yes, contemplative

J: It doesn’t sound like boredom

D: No, it’s not boredom…I was thinking out loud about silence

J: Ah, I understand

D: I started to think about boredom when I was under pressure for a deadline and instead of focusing on that, I was wasting my time in order to avoid it.

I was feeling bored even if I had so many things to do.

J: And why didn’t you do them?

D: Like you I was jerking off twice a day, watching TV series, being antisocial…being bored by the people around me, by myself, like floating in an ocean made of jelly-o.

I couldn’t admit I was stuck and weak. the pressure of coming out with something good made me feel like I haven’t nothing good to say at all.

J: I’ve been stuck for three years

D: but you did something. you weren’t in a coma. I started to pay attention to those “hidden” actions and to those results I was creating out of boredom”…of course, I was never satisfied. I felt they didn’t have the right to be shown…was also shame knocking at my door?

J: So you understand why I was relating it to desire

D: Oh yes, I do. You know, there’s creative boredom as well, that is different from a situative boredom, that is when you want the train to come, for example…

J: Yes

D: the creative boredom is more about the results…when you feel forced to do something new all the time

J: I guess, I have been thinking of more extreme boredom. Often times I can come up with solutions, but often times I cannot. There is boredom at social situations, and I make games to entertain myself

D: Like what?

J: I can’t think of a good example

D: Well, next time you’ll come out with a game please take note for me

J: I will have to take note. I’ve started avoiding my old social situations though.                Out of larger picture boredom

D: tell me about those social situations

J: Certain bars and groups of people

D: too fucked up?

J: No, too stagnant. So I started getting too fucked up

D: right, you’re boiling inside

J: How do you mean?

D: maybe it’s just an Italian expression…but from what you said before, it’s like you’re craving for new challenges, stimulations and you’re not easy to please. you can’t waste you’re time in stagnant and sterile situations that give you nothing, but maybe all these are just my pretentious assumptions…

J: I do. I just don’t know what I want yet

D: and here comes the rhetoric question: will you ever know?                                                 not knowing could be exciting as well

J: Most likely

D: you know what you don’t want, consider it as a starting point

J: I am still learning all the things I don’t want

D: being curious is one of best quality a man can have

J: I’m too curious

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and what about inadequate boredom?

D: what’s boredom for you?

A: lack of intellectual stimulation.

D: and when does it happen to you? often or sometimes?

A: Not often. In general, I’m too busy to be bored. Sometimes in social situations when I don’t feel connected to others.

D: I know that feeling

A: to me it’s more feeling “inadequate”… or not in the right place…

D: what do you do when you’re bored? have you ever paid attention to those moments?

A: I suppose in social situation there isn’t much to do about it. And I guess I haven’t given it much thought. Of course I get bored at home too if I don’t have work to do. I’ve found that over the past year I’ve had a bad tendency to surf the internet, looking at other people’s Instagram or Tumblr. That’s when I feel inadequate.

D: I never thought about that…the connection between inadequacy and boredom.

A: Interesting. Not sure. I guess I feel inadequate in that I have a bad tendency to measure myself against others. I look at Instagram and think ‘I am not that beautiful’ (not in a self-pitying way–I think), or my life isn’t that interesting. But I suppose all of that is context. No one is immune to context. So I guess boredom leads me ultimately to a feeling of inadequacy?

D: I guess so…I need to think about that. But, could boredom be productive? I mean, do you think that those “boring” moments are bearing something or are they just empty bubbles?

A: How so? I suppose there are those interstitial moments of boredom–waiting in line at the store, running errands (like what I’m up to today). And while I’m doing those things I’m keeping tabs on my observations, reminding myself to write things down or actually writing things down. Or thinking about something that I may later add to a story or poem. Or seeing something that influences me visually. So I guess boredom can generate those sorts of things. But is that boredom then?

D: Well, that’s the whole point. The more I dig into boredom, the more it appears like a circle. You don’t know exactly where it starts and ends. There are different kinds of boredom, from the existential to the creative one…

A: That is true. I guess I’m thinking too that you may mean using boredom itself as the material or substrate for creation. I’m thinking of Matthew Barney’s interminably boring but beautiful and mesmerizing films.

D: Time…duration…a story that takes its time to be told and maybe it’s leading nowhere, not satisfying our urgency for an answer, a solution…a story that is inviting the viewer to slow down.

A: That could be a physical representation or manifestation of boredom. I particularly like boring or receptive movies or music because they can be so mesmerizing. There is something almost spiritual about it. Exitstential. Existential I mean

D: Is it also because they take you somewhere else?

A: Beckett’s work comes to mind. Or performance art.

D: Yes, Beckett and boredom are strictly connected.

A: Now I am thinking about aleatory music and improvisation…

D: are you bored right now?

A: No.

D: so you associate performance art to boredom?

A: To some extent, yes. Think of Abramović or Tilda Swinton sitting in a gallery and getting stared at all day. And then Beckett was about paring things down to the essential. Thank of Godot. Surely that has something to say about boredom.

D: …an expanded time where “nothing” new to seems happen. Just waiting.                         But in fact “nothing” IS happening. And what’s that nothing? What’s it made of?                David Foster Wallace said: “Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about to kill you. Ride this out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.”

A: Hm. That’s interesting.

D: Tell me…

A: The implication of traversing a terrain or coming out the other side of something renewed. And the certainty and clarity of it. I often feel like clarity is never really available. That clarity itself is another dream, just a different space among spaces. But I fall victim every day to the idea of clarity. I think I’ve arrived at some insight, feel it with some sense of certainty–only to wake the next day and feel the opposite or something adjacent to that clarity.

D: the image of a windscreen wiper at work, when it rains…for a moment you see clear and you’re feeling secure, but a moment after the view is not that clear anymore…ohm. ha. silly metaphor just came out

A: Perhaps. Perhaps not. I often answer “perhaps” to a lot of things, even perceived facts, which can frustrate people. They’ll say I’m wishy-washy. But I just say I’m trying to be realistic.

D: I know what you mean. Isn’t it also about trusting ourselves? Sometime it’s like we’re “holding the Truth” but then a second later we’re not so sure anymore.                              That moment of ultra-knowledge just disappears. What was it? I forgot. But everything made sense…for one second my existence was suddenly so clear.

A: I like “holding” in this instance. It can either be as in having it in hand. Or a staving off. I doubt, a lot

D: never be too sure, too self-confident. I don’t trust the one who doesn’t have doubts.

A: I know what you men. I never trust myself. while doubt opens door to questions. I think all art is rooted in doubt. Or has to be.

D: I agree. this also leaves space for the spectator’s gaze.

A: I was thinking about the gaze today, actually. My thought was, ‘You own a glimpse, but you don’t own a stare.’

D: What made you think about that?

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a daily ordeal

T: What are you looking for?

A: …boredom

T: Ha. Yeah? Sounds maddening!

A: not kidding

T: Yeah? 🙂 huh. What do you do with that?

A: I’m curious about what people think about boredom

T: Aha

A: what do you think about it?

A: Have you explored it in high schools? I teach high school history.                                     It’s an interesting thing in that space

A: No, I didn’t. I wasn’t bored during high school. Bullying kept me busy…but I’m curious to know why you associate high school with boredom?

T: Because kids say they’re bored all the time. So for me, it’s a task of figuring out what that means and what to do with that

A: and did you come out with a solution?

T: Is boredom a problem and if so, what kind of problem is it? I mean it’s a daily ordeal

A: that’s the point. Maybe it’s not. Couldn’t it be something else? I never thought what’s boredom means for kids before

T: Not what? A problem?

A: Yes, not a problem, not just a negative status

T: it depends. I don’t think it’s a great thing in my classroom.                                                 The question is, whose problem is it? And it’s not simply a problem. It’s other things too. But I think in a NYC public school, it’s obnoxious to not recognize that it’s a problem too

A: what do you think it could be done about this matter?

T: Listen to them. Talk less

A: I agree. I think you’re right

T: This is what I do 😉

A: We don’t listen to them

T: Nope. People like to talk a lot, and talk a lot of silliness. Not fun silliness though

A: Sometime we impose our knowledge and experience on kids. I know what you have to do, because I’ve been here before…

T: And to each other. Adults are the worst!

A: and in doing so we just block them

T: Yup. What about you?

A: I’m just trying to understand how boredom could be seen from another perspective… for example, observing on what we do when we’re bored.                                                       How do we spend that time? Is it really wasted as we like to think?

T: Anxiety around boredom

A: what if we start to observe that anxiety?

T: There’s Buddhism in there

A: Do you think so? I’m not looking it through a religious filter…not yet

T: I mean, lots of folks don’t really call Buddhism a religion. But yes.                              There’s a good amount of overlap with what you said

A: is it a state of mind?

T: Well, quieting the mind. Sitting with ones’ emotions

A: you told me about the kids, but what about you?

T: Letting a state like boredom just be 🙂 What about me?

A: what do you do when you’re bored?

T: I like interesting things. Like questions. Like this. I have problems with my boredom.      I like to be busy always. I don’t like being home alone. I don’t like when I just watch TV and porn etc.

A: but it happens. Eventually we end up there, saying the magic sentence: I’m bored

T: I used to be better at being alone

A: what happened?

T: I was au pair in rural Poland for a year and spent so much alone time.                               I’d go on hikes alone, teach myself guitar. Technology killed me.                                          Most gay men bore me to death. They’re the worst.                                                                        I need constant stimulation. I like calm and quiet too. I like to go fishing with my dad. That’s fine. But, fact is, gay men are both boring and the worst 😉

A: why are you so mad at gay men?

T: Meh. I’m more of a lesbian. Not mad. Just disappointed.                                                     But I like having sex with them

A: ahahahah…the revenge

T: the revenge! Ha! Perhaps. You like sex?

A: Yes

T: that’s good 🙂 I need sex. Lots

A: well, it doesn’t surprise me…you need to keep yourself busy

T: we should hanging out sometime. Or whatcha thinking?

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Boredom is tension at heart. (a brief conversation between A and B)

A: …you’re still a free spirit.

B: Yes, kind of…but I become awkward in a long term relationship.

A: Well, it’s normal…

B: I don’t want to get involved with someone because of boredom.
I want do it out of certainty, that’s why I’m waiting 🙂

A: Gotcha. But it’s difficult to predict, tho. At the beginning it might seem certainty, but maybe it’s just boredom in disguise. You’ll find out only after.
But now I’m curious…relationship aside, what do you think about boredom?

B: Ohm. To me it’s the fear of having a goal and the inaction that comes from it.

A: Do you get stuck by the idea of having a target?

B: I fear to have one, and then not being able to keep up with it and fail miserably.
Am I explaining myself?

A: Yes, I can see what you’re saying, but I’m sure you had to deal with targets in the past…you’re still studying; this means you want to achieve something…like passing an important exam, no?

B: Yes, of course it happened. I turn my head every time a target shows up on the horizon. I fear to confess it to myself.

A: Interesting. Boredom stops you, holds you back.

B: Yes, that’s my case. Boredom is tension at heart.

A: I see. And how do you deal with it? I mean, how do you behave in the arms of boredom? How do you use that time?

B: I wait for a shock to happen. I wake up right before the catastrophe, like a forthcoming deadline…

A: An alarm call…

B: Yep, but I don’t like it.

A: Of course you don’t…and every time you keep telling yourself:
next time it will be different, I’ll change…

B: Well, I’m trying to…ohm…re-adjust myself. “Change” sounds like a buzzword to me. Why are you asking me this?

A: Because I’m trying to see the productive side of boredom.

B: You should give me some private lesson then…

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– but is it really about letting someone go? I think it’s something that                                     we should say to ourselves instead. “Dear me, please let me go.” 🙏

– exactly!

– but it happens, tho. no? sometimes we do like to think at ourselves                                       as someone’s hostage…

– …and vice versa

– is it easier? I mean, making us believe it wasn’t our own fault.                                        shared responsibilities, if you’re  lucky.

– yeah. I guess it’s a remedy of some sort. self-help shit. but it sounds so good in our mouth. you should try. it’s so…dramantic: if you really love me, pleeease, let me go.               😢🔓👐

– ahahahah…dramantic! good one. did you just make it up?

– maybe. I don’t know which mule is mine anymore. they all look the same…

– ahahahah. we are so basic.

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Locus Pocus_02

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