Monday 5 March 2012


“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.”
“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.


  1. The very words that cause me to scream like a banshee.
    Life conspires to keep me ten paces behind ( on average - sometimes it's more) where I should be if the coils of barbed wire and pit traps hadn't been put in my way. Never enough time. Bored? I can't remember if I ever knew what that felt like.
    A cold for five days held me down and prevented some things but I did read Player of Games ( arrived Fri morning, finished it Sat evening) and got on with writing game stuff when I could - when not seeing to Ems, the cats, the dog - but still behind on daily stuff and then had to spend four hours today being told again all the reasons why I SHOULDN@T have had femoral necrosis and being told I WOULD be having an MRI despite the metal lump where my hip bone was so they can see if I SHOULDN@T be developing it in the right hip.
    So bored ?? And then theres the sewing...

  2. It is possible to be bored WITH or BY something, for example Revenge of the Sith, which I re-watched last night faintly hoping it'd metamorphosed into a good film by being kept in a darkened room for four years*, but to occupy the ground state of boredom - no, I don't think I've experienced that. Only someone who's just been interrogated alongside Ornela Muti by a Ming-ite with bore-worms could honestly say "I'm bored". Although the proper usage would be "I've been bored". And even then the scenery would be distracting...

    *No, it hadn't.

  3. In the words of kidz teevee, 'Why Don't You, go and turn off your tele and go and do something less boring instead'. Usually just after an episode of Flashing Blades.

    You can of course as you describe. There's this period before Catnip goes to bed where she gets to have an hour of tele, with me, cuddled up on the soda. She likes tele with Gok Wan in it (not Obi Wan... hang on, I'll write that one down), or where women dressed like street-walkers have a make-under, or where people take turns to have dinner parties and have all watched too much Masterchef. That's not so much boring as dreadful. But I can't edit the sprouts tele choices else I'd be like my own dad who could spend a whole episode of Blakes 7 telling me what rubbish it was and turn over to the news just as Gan is having a bit of an episode. We're a lot better at this middle age malarky than our parents were.

    No amount of me going 'hey cool, Kelly's Heroes is on' will sway her in that hour. And really, so it shouldn't.

  4. Quite agree. You've set up kids' telly hour, so it is their hour. I somehow doubt your brain particularly engages with the content as presented, though. I occasionally sit with the aged parent as she watches EastEnders during dinner, but I couldn't tell you anything about what the current themes of shouting and misery are to do with. There's a bald man with invisible eyebrows who never picks his feet up as he walks, and that vaguely irritates me, but I've not watched the programme properly since Shelley and Pte. Pike were in it, and showed all the other soap stars what acting involved.