Monday, January 15, 2007

Being boring

I am boring. I don't doubt it. I'm not a sparkling conversationalist, usually monotone and dull or infuriatingly garrulous, so that you struggle either to drag an answer out of me or to get a word in edgeways. The former happens when I have nothing to say and don't know how to push the conversation along; the latter when I'm enthused about something to the exclusion of everything else (including whatever you want to talk about).

I mostly have nothing to talk about. I do not have an interesting religion. I don't have any at all; no beliefs of any kind. I do not even have the good taste to be Jewish. I am the same peasant my forebears were; none of them in living memory had any religion at all. Except my mother, who has in her time been a spiritualist, a Baptist, a Unitarian, a Hindu, a Buddhist and gods know what other types of believer.

I have no interesting philosophy. I have no firm views on what life is, what it is for or how it should be lived. I indulge mostly in a woolly-minded scepticism, a vague conviction that the pursuit of knowledge is worth while (although worth what I have never figured out). If pressed, I'd say that eudaimonia is a sensible goal for a human being. I am at the same time a resolute materialist and a believer in the human spirit. They don't make easy bedfellows.

Politically, I am a bleeding heart. I have a poorly thought-out notion of equity that I use as a lens to view the world. I think everyone should get a share but I have no good idea of how they can have it. I couldn't be a communist; the "proletariat" are too ferociously dim ever to be allowed actually to run things. I'd be better off without this idea of the world, because it is a lot easier to be a rightist (which is why many choose it as their politics). A belief that the individual is god allows everything to fall into place. Sadly, it does not stand up to even the briefest scrutiny. The individual is a construct of the society they are part of.

I do not have strong views on many things. I am pro-choice but against killing, agnostic but not antireligious, vegetarian but not a proselyte, not anything like a nationalist, although I do love my native land, against this, that and the other but unwilling to march, shout or punch anyone over it.

I am not at all fashionable. I do not like the latest thing, although I do sometimes have it. I like music but I don't follow it all that closely. I like some stuff you've probably never heard of but that's an outcome of catholic taste (or no taste at all) rather than a pursuit of the recherche. There are no Japanese thrash bands in my record collection, and no obscure fifteenth-century German harpsichord pieces. Not even any Stockhausen, although I do have a Steve Reich boxset.

I am poorly read in literature and become ever more so. When I read book of the year lists, I've only ever read one or two of them, if that. I often read half a book and then give up, bored. I tire of the books because I have become incapable of thinking about them. I am incapable of thinking about anything. If I feel thoughts arising, I drink more cheap red wine to kill them. They never lead anywhere good.

I do not have an interesting hobby. I started playing poker when it became popular and I am boringly useless at it. I read the web aimlessly and find nothing very interesting because I am clueless how to find good stuff. I take the occasional bushwalk but I am almost entirely unobservant and the only way I spot wildlife is when I trip over it or it bites me. I paint without any sign of talent and make music that would disgrace a small child, neither very often these days because inspiration just doesn't strike the boring on most days.

I have a boring life. It is only enlivened by domestic strife. Which is thoroughly boring in itself. I have been to the cinema once in a year, the theatre not at all in the three years I have been back in Brisbane. I eat out maybe once every three months. Most places to eat that I can afford are cookie-cutter, uninspired franchise joints, so I don't miss it. I have been to the football a couple of times this season but lacking company made it too joyless and the standard was just too poor to be worth spending $25 on.

But you know all this. You have read this blog and you know how boring I am, because I display exactly these qualities in my posts. Most people who read this blog have taken some opportunity or other to express it to me. Mind you, I am constantly reminded of the words of the Pet Shop Boys' song: we were never being bored because we were never being boring. I know I am bored because I am boring. Do you know it too?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Sour Grapes said...

I think you'd be more interesting if you were more interested in something, probably yourself. The people who come here and read what you post are obviously doing it for some reason or other, and I suspect it's not because they're charter members of your cosy Kaffeeklatsch. So I dunno. Maybe you could simulate some interest, in the hope that it might transform into the real thing, as they say an assumed smile will.

January 15, 2007 at 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anon said...

My friend, Ahmed, and I used to have this kind of conversation, about how boring we were. He would smile sheepishly, shrug and said "This is the life."

I sincerely doubt you are as boring to other people as you find yourself. After all, your boring life is different than my boring life, from their boring life.

January 15, 2007 at 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Dr Zen said...

This is true, anon, and in honour of Mr Hope, I will shortly be writing an observational piece about the trip to Woolworths supermarket (interesting fact, Hopey, Woolworths here are "the fresh food people", not "the plastic shit people") I have just returned from.

January 15, 2007 at 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Dr Zen said...

"I think you'd be more interesting if you were more interested in something"

Actually, thinking about it, I think that is what I just said. The problem is, of course, mustering up the interest in anything.

January 15, 2007 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Don said...

I hope the Woolworth's comment was meant in earnest, because you could write something fascinating about it if you only allowed yourself to.

Yeah, I keep coming back. If only to see you admit you "have a poorly thought-out notion of equity that I use as a lens to view the world." Not that my notions are any better. However, though rightism as you see it may be easy, as I do it is not. Nor yet realized. But not having strong views doesn't make us boring. Being uninterested in the world is what makes people boring, and you aren't uninterested, much as you pretend.

(I enjoy your native land, and will be near it soon for a couple days, to the north and east a couple hundred km, but alas no chance to go down into it.)

January 15, 2007 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Paula Light said...

I've always enjoyed the way you string words togther, whether the actual info is boring or not. I liked the Woolworth's post, too. *shrugs*

January 16, 2007 at 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Pness said...

You know, you really should work on your love@lycos profile or you'll never get laid.

January 16, 2007 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Nobody said...

Well that's weird, because I'm boring, and yet not bored.

January 16, 2007 at 11:56 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

This article is interesting actually. I feel boring so I looked up "being boring" on google. There are some cleverly humorous parts that made me crack a smile.

I think I'm less boring online than I am in person. I believe talking and writing are separate talents, and that the one you are better at reflects who you really are :D Writing seems to come naturally to you.

October 1, 2008 at 11:30 AM  
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