“I’m bored,” she says.
“Go and be bored somewhere else,” I answer (I’m witty like that). I should have known she was coming. My foot’s been acting up all weekend and like a sailor feels the sea in his bones I get impending annoyance in my foot. She sighs like a child. She’ll be kicking the chair legs next. I put down my pencil. “What is it?”
“Read a book.”
“Read them again.”
But no this is that special sort of boredom that needs company. I remember being bored once, I had to wait three hours for a lift and by an unlikely chain of events I had no book (as I’d suggested), no music, nothing. Not a thing had been open, it had been then boxing day, and I in Victoria. If I had not had a colossal backpack I would have walked the twelve miles home, but I did, so I didn’t. In the end – this was twenty-something years back – I managed to phone someone I hadn’t been meant to be seeing to keep me company until the father of the one I was supposed to came to pick me up. Different times, different person.
“What you doing?” says Mme Roux.
Nothing at the moment, because you’re here. The sprouts are being made ready for bed now Q is home. My day has been crowded with seeing to them in the morning and as much work as could be managed before an appointment in the afternoon, funnily enough about my foot – so I should have known. I’ve got pictures to draw, pieces to write. There are games to prepare. I might like to eat to at some point. I am never, not ever, bored. Ever. I know people who could never live a life of leisure. I could. There are worlds to write and places to portray, people to meet and none of them as it happens, real. There are always things for me to do, and other things too when I’m doing those things. If I actually have an hour to myself then I can always crack on with learning a foreign language and having an ear for German I went for Spanish. Which is hard.
“Can’t we have an adventure?”
“No, no we really can’t,” I say. It’s my anniversary soon, fifteen years, I’ve got to crack on with making the gift this evening. I can’t be stumbling over lost valleys, not again. Or run from Cossacks, or throw an egg at Matisse (not our finest hour). I am never bored, and not least because if ever I could ever, ever, get everything done, then there’s everything else I could do too. Galton & Simpson made Hancock spend a brilliantly conceived half-hour with Sid where they did nothing but bicker and sigh on a long, empty Sunday afternoon.
So don’t tell me you’re bored. Don’t post, write or semaphore me that you’re bored.
It bores me. “And you,” I say.
Fuck it, I put my pencils away. I put the pad in its folder. Mme Roux looks up, she grins. I’m going to bake rock cakes. She can’t make toast, that’ll bore her silly.
Hopefully bore her away.