On boredom

Do you get bored? I don’t really. Really, I don’t. I get a lot of things,


He's dreaming of you, you know. I won't wake him, lest you disappear. Out--bang!--like a candle.

but bored isn’t one of them. I get restless, anxious, frustrated, weary and tired, but rarely bored. (I’m waiting for someone for an hour now so I’m writing this on my phone, to clean up on the computer later.) There’s always something to do.

I think it has to do with being a chronic insomniac.

I didn’t know there was a word for it until I was in the sixth grade. Until then, I was the only person in the world who didn’t sleep at night. My parents would put me to bed and I would lie awake for hours after that, listening to them clean up from dinner and grind coffee beans for the next morning. I could hear when my brother’s television time was cut short and he was sent to his room. He would keep his door open, usually. I would listen, follow his progression into sleep with my ears, catch the moment finally as the breaths came tumbling out of his mouth like dead leaves: the dry, light, quiet, crumpled detritus of sleep.

My parents, though, both snored, but in different timbers and rhythms. Both were ragged, but my father’s the deeper of the two. His reminded me of an elephant seal inflating its nose sac and bellowing through it. It was a grand reverberation indeed. Large and wet and full of internal flaps for the wind to catch on. My mother’s exhale was more like a squeaky door being opened slowly, were that sound slowed down in half and then half again. Her inhale was the sound of Darth Vader were there a kink in one of his hoses. Yes, they were loud. My mother has been known to wake herself up with the volume of her own snoring before.

But me, little Seer, I did not sleep. I lay awake for hours. It’s part of my diagnosis, actually; a symptom is a different circadian rhythm. I can always stay up all night and sleep during the day. Part of being a rare bird is being nocturnal. But the world won’t have that. I’m not allowed to follow my nature. Instead, I was just a difficult child, and I’m late for work (and most every place else in the morning) as an adult.

I learned to be penned in one place for a very long time with nothing to do. I wasn’t allowed to read in bed past a certain time. So I told myself my own stories. I wrote my own poems. I still wasn’t self-conscious enough to know they weren’t as good as the ones in my books–as far as I was concerned, I was a writer.

I still do this. In all staff meetings, I’m usually not taking notes about the meeting. I’m usually writing down stories. Same goes for boring conference presentations. I usually carry two notebooks: one for real notes, and one for notes on the meeting. Yeah, my stories are my real life. Maybe that’s part of the problem. Or part of the solution. Lama Marut says that we shouldn’t try to be well-adjusted to this maladjusted world. I don’t really try all that hard. I think well-adjusted people are bored often. The rest–the few, probably–of us have our heads in the clouds more often than not. I can tell you the view from there is hazy, but it’s great. And it’s never tedious.

How did you find your passion? Have you, even?



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