I wrote this late last year, as a piece of fiction for NaNoWriMo in November. Reread it tonight, thought it was interesting and still sorta true.
“And I just don’t think you’re looking in the right place,” she told me, trying to avoid eye contact. “I mean, I don’t know what you think you’re going to find at last call.”
“Why do I have to be looking for something?” I said, defensively.
“I just know that you could find something else out there, you know, outside of the rail drinks and barstools. I want you to be that person.”
I didn’t know where any of this was coming from. She always seemed happy enough to share an appetizer and a few drinks, and it was only a few weeks ago that she’d be right out there every night with me. Maybe we grew apart. Maybe she grew up and I didn’t.
“You know how much I just want to feel happy sitting around at night, watching a bad movie with my girlfriend and getting to sleep by midnight? Waking up before 9, going for a run and making her breakfast while she sleeps in? That set of moments is all I fucking want, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Believe me, I’ve looked, but I can’t find it.”
“I believe you, I really do. But you’re just not really trying, because you’re not willing to be bored. You know what all of what you just described is? It’s just desired boredom. You’re still afraid of feeling happy being bored.”
Then it hit me. The worst part was that I knew she was right. I realized that all of my life, I had been trying to get away from boredom. Avoiding boredom was the one true challenge, the one impossible goal. Sometimes you have to be bouncing around, from person to person and place to place to hide from it. Sometimes you have to be alone to never be bored, but maybe you have to be bored to never be alone.
“I’ll get there,” I told her, unsure of if it could actually be true or not.
I got a text from Sarah, who asked if I was going out tonight. Saved by the phone, I thought. Sarah was one of my best friends, someone who understood me as much I think anyone ever could. She was brash and honest, yet kind. In an alternate universe, we would be a happy couple.
I finished my coffee with Emily and went out to meet Sarah. There was a beer with my name on it when I arrived, and Sarah’s sympathetic blue eyes stood out in the dark bar. I told her the whole story, and I ordered the next round.
“Look, you know I’m not exactly on the best terms with her, but I think she was completely overreacting like she always does.” Sarah and Emily had always been at odds with each other. I think they only tolerated each other because I was a mutual friend. Sarah was more like me, shy and reserved at first, a little guarded, a little bitter. Emily was more of an optimist, a friendly beauty who saw the best in people. Her sweetness interested me, while Sarah’s jaded view of the world drew the two of us together.
“I mean, I think she was overreacting too, but she made some good points and I have no choice but to listen to her. Do you think that being bored is really that necessary?”
“No I don’t, but I’m like you.” I wasn’t sure which part of me she was describing, but I took it as a compliment. “Look, there are people in this world that don’t understand why we do what we do. They don’t feel restless, they don’t feel bored, and they’re very happy being complacent. That’s fine. That works for them, this works for us. We’re just two separate types of people, and we’ll never see eye to eye.”
It seems like some of us are just born to be boredom-averse. Blame it on the bad chemicals in our brains, or the electricity in our veins, but we just can’t feel okay sitting still. And we’ll keep running around, bar to bar, place to place, person to person until we get rid of every iota of boredom in our bodies.