I found myself in the pit of absolute boredom yesterday, and not by choice.

My phone’s broken, and the replacement isn’t here. So I have no internet, no messaging, no music, no games. While I’m in transit or away from a computer, then, I only have my paper Hobonichi Techo and my wonderful Rakuten Kobo e-reader by my side.

Only, yesterday had a huge rainstorm coming down. When I was about to head home from work, I decided to leave my paper notebook behind and just take the Kobo. It has a clunky note-taking app anyway if something really important comes to my brain.

Only, I accidentally left the Kobo at work too. And that’s where absolute boredom came from.

My seventy-minute commute in stark silence, with nothing to distract my brain. Nobody to talk to, lots of time spent walking or standing while other people sit there on their phones, headphones on.

It harkens back to 15 years ago, before the smartphone, when I might really have sat on a school bus bored with nothing to do but sit and think. And think. And think. A bygone era where constant mental stimulation was a cartoon episode plot, not a reality most of us live.

The minutes passed and oh boy did the local train feel slow. Half an hour, huge crowds for a few stations, then most people poured out and I had leg room once again. A few people giving me the obligatory “oh look a foreigner” stare.

Just me and my very uninteresting thoughts. No story brainstorming, no summer vacation planning, no anguish over lost friends. Too tired for anything constructive, and too device-less to entertain myself.

I’m literally reading the advertisements now. There’s a bus festival next week near the aquarium. Uh, there’s some theme park they always advertise. The mascots look really bad. Okay, finished with that.

Only halfway…

It’d be one thing if I chose this. Sometimes I’ll go a whole train ride, a long walk, without any sort of device to distract me. Sometimes I’ll do whole “no-screen” days. But this time, when I had planned to read through a book and didn’t get the chance, it felt so much more annoying.

Time slipped by. Somehow, I zoned out long enough to make it home, to turn on my computer as fast as possible and get a cool dose of blue light.

And then this morning of course I brought a pocket notebook to keep myself busy.

I faced absolute boredom yesterday, not of my own volition. It was an interesting and valuable but I would never subject myself to that again.

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2 thoughts on “Absolute Boredom

  1. Yes — boredom of choice is one thing, but boredom that only comes from being thwarted is like making huge progress in a video game, turning it off, and only realizing when you pick it up again that you forgot to save. Or maybe it’s not like that, but it’s similarly infuriating.

    “A bygone era where constant mental stimulation was a cartoon episode plot, not a reality most of us live.” 😟

    (but…to be fair, another classic cartoon episode plot is absolute boredom. a reality fewer and fewer of us live…maybe?…..)

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