Copyright 2006 Ben S. Pollock
I dreamed I was in a conversation with a few younger people from the office, none of them the real people in my real office. I was saying to them something (in reality) that I have said many times over the years (and they listened, proving it a dream):
“I couldn’t handle the boredom. It was the worst kind of boredom, where you wait for someone to return your call, and deadline’s looming just close enough where you can’t start a new story.”
A wiseacre pipes up: “So why did you return to reporting?” (The speaker in the dream did use past tense.)
With no hesitation: “In the 20 years since I last reported, I learned there were many kinds of boredom.”
I have? I’m awake now and realize, yes. “And I’ve learned a bit on how to handle most of them.”
What are the forms of boredom?
• The boredom of waiting, which has two subsets:
• Waiting for the known, the case in my dream: some mayor to phone me back. At some point the wait becomes moot as the story gets written regardless, or shelved for the moment.
• Waiting for the unknown, like sitting in a doctor’s office. One unknown is how long you’ll have to sit, which is unpleasant enough. The other unknown is what the doctor will say or do to you. We like to call that boredom, dread.
• Likely expectation, which is the boredom of, say, having nearly the same lunch every darned day.
• That entertainment has become predictable is a form of monotony. Either the TV writers (or mystery novelists et cetera) have gotten worse or simply by the passing of years you have become wiser. If you’ve seen Columbo, you can predict Monk, and those are two Continue reading