Is boredom the last taboo? Sometimes I wonder if it is. It's not something people admit to. You hear plenty of, "Oh my word I'm so busy," or, "I've been that rushed off my feet," or, the one that really makes me want to rip my skin off, "I'm going out so much at the minute I think I'm going to meet myself coming back in again!" (There was a girl at university who used to say this and, not normally a violent person, I was taken aback by the fact that it made me want to kill her.) But you don't often hear people say, "I'm off my head with the tedium of it all," or, "My life is so mind-numbingly humdrum, I can't tell you."
In fact most people wear their busy-ness like a badge of honour. If you're not frantically, manically, flat-out whirring from one thing to the next, like they are, or like they say they are, they think you're a nobody, a nothing, worthless. Same with social lives. The pathologically hyperactive complain bitterly about being, "Out every night this week," or, "Four nights in a row", when really they're bragging. If you don't like it, don't do it; that's what I think. But maybe that's just me because I hardly go anywhere and am essentially lazy.
I like nothing more than a night in, curled on the sofa with slippers and the fire on, watching some fab BBC telly with the kids: Africa, Wonders of Life, Supersize Earth, Welcome to India, How to Grow A Planet, Sherlock, The Great British Bake Off, Dirk Gently, Episodes... None of it remotely boring. (Ok, the last two not just because they are fab telly but because I have huge crush on Stephen Mangan). I say this because I haven't been busy lately, not work-busy, so TV has been playing an even more prominent role than usual. And it's usually pretty prominent.
I am busy cooking and tidying and buying food and washing clothes and booking appointments and trying to get all the broken things mended, of course. As usual. The domestic to-do list is as long as my arm. But that stuff is dull. I have not been work-busy, which, let's face it, is the only busy anyone ever thinks is important, and which saves me from the monotony and from thinking about myself too much, which is what I do when I'm not busy, and which bores me to death.
I did have this feature idea I was touting about from one newspaper to another, which got a lot of interest. I spent a lot of time on that. That wasn't boring. But it didn't go anywhere in the end, so I didn't get any money, which is the ultimate in tedium. So, in desperation I sent a text to lovely TV mate, with whom I did lots of filming this time last year. "Help!" it said, "Going mental. Got any work?" like Yosser Hughes in Boys from the Blackstuff. (Showing my age there.)
Be careful what you wish for, that's what my mother says. Too right. Lovely friend and I made some extremely un-boring videos for a children's publishing company last year, and the year before. All zappy music and perky kids chatting to camera with lots of whip pans and graphics. So that's what I had in mind. But he makes other stuff too, for the Beeb (which is how I met him) and corporate videos, and sometimes things for the NHS. He made a powerful and award-winning little film about safeguarding vulnerable adults.
"Yes!" he replies, "there's work".
I can help him with another little NHS film: come up with an idea, write the proposal, direct it and then we'll edit it together. "Only thing is", he explains, when he rings me back, "it's not a very accessible subject, quite challenging in fact."
My ears prick up and my nose start to twitch because I already agreed. "Oh yeees?" I say, "exactly what is the subject then?"
So he tells me. And so now I'm rather busy,
very busy in fact, researching all about... bed sores. Yes, you read that right: bed sores. They can be life threatening apparently. And I know I usually include another picture at this point but believe me, you really don't want to know.
But it's not boring.
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