Bored is Boring


"Only boring people are bored."

My mom loves this saying. Neither she nor I are people who are particularly prone to being bored. Just put me in a room with a fabulous book I have, or have not read and I'm good. Conversely, some paper and pens = me writing and entertaining myself for quite a long time. I have been known to write poems on receipts I scrounged at the bottom of my purse. I'm also really great at "thinking at myself" aka spacing out, so yeah. I can just figure something out if there's nothing to do. So, I don't really grok "bored" as a general rule. 


Except. 


Except the boredom of being forced to do something that one does not have any particular interest in. 


Say, like taking a two year old child to the Thomas the Train Engine table at the bookstore fifteen billion times a week.

(Do remember, I'm prone to wild exaggeration, so take that number with a grain of salt. It was probably more like fourteen billion times. Give or take a few billion.)

 Or standing by at the playground, watching-but-not-hoovering as said small child climbs/ runs/ plays (preferably with other kids who don't call him names or tell him to "go away" because he's being "too weird.").


This is why I began to practice seeing the world through photography, I think. Because in the toddler days of motherhood, at the park (or playing with my now-we-know, neural-atypical child), I found myself being something I didn't expect to be: bored. And since "only boring people are bored" I had to find myself something else to do, that would engage me when I needed to be sort-of* engaged, but not completely. 

For me that was photography. I think a lot of my mama friends knit or play on their iPhones** or read, but I picked photography for whatever reason and then fell in love with it. 

When you look at the world through a viewfinder, you do double (and triple) takes. You can see details you didn't see before. You can frame things in ways that tell stories and have an emotional impact outside of the beating of your own heart. 

Considering that I'm not an inherently visual person, it is probably surprising that I found photography. But perhaps not, since as I've noted before in my life, the reason I'm drawn to writing is that I am not a very easy speaker (I get tangled up in conversation sometimes, and say things wrong or convoluted). 


Perhaps the very reason I became a photographer is that I have problems remembering the world, imagistically. And photography gives me that gift, allows me to look at things long enough that even when I am boring and bored, I can find something interesting in the world again. A shadow or a curve, the play of light across the back of a leaf. 


I suspect I'm evolving again. I'm no longer the mom of a toddler (my son starts kindergarten on Wednesday!). My photography evolved synergistically last year when Remy started full-time preschool, and I don't know yet where it I will go in the coming year. 


It's a wild ride, this life. One thing I know is, there is almost no reason for me to be bored, ever. If I just pay attention, deeply, I always find Flaubert's words to be ever-true: "Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough."

 ___________
* I'm not talking about those times when one is playing with one's child, or actually having to keep them from doing harm, I'm speaking of those really mundane moments when the child is otherwise occupied. 

** I do play on my iPod a lot nowadays, but I didn't have one when my kid was 2, and actually, I use the camera on my iPod more often than not, actually. Except for Facebook. And Pinterest. And my rss reader. And looking up things on Wikipedia. OK, I'm addicted to the internet, you caught me.)