The ‘bourgie hippie’ category

The Reckoning Week 56: The Overwhelmed and the Bored

April 11th, 2021

Here is something I read in my NYT Parenting Newsletter. Perhaps you read it too.

Even in normal times, boredom is a very common emotion — a study of almost 4,000 American adults found that 63 percent felt bored at least once in a 10-day sampling period.

As my mom used to say, “There is no such thing as boring. There are only boring people.” Or something like that; I don’t remember exactly because quite frankly, I was never listening.

Not to be obnoxious, because of course, it’s entirely understandable that a lot of people would be feeling really goddamn bored right now. I am just not one of them. That’s the opposite of my problem, actually. I am overwhelmed all the time.

This time has sharply divided people into two camps: the overwhelmed and the bored.

I long to be bored. Boredom, as they say, breeds creativity. I witness this in my children all the time, as they come up with crazy-ass projects like “collect a million acorns, shell them with the intention to make necklaces, then leave them scattered on the hearth” and “I am a cat and will only do cat things and respond in cat ways as we are getting ready for school.” Imagination and boredom correlate closely. As it turns out, so do imagination and mom’s threshold of coping ability.

I feel less and less imaginative these days. It’s been a very amygdala-centric year, and my neocortex hasn’t gotten a lot of action. 

My imagination now applies itself mainly to working out pandemic scenarios, trying to imagine where we will live in a few months, running through potential disasters and catastrophes on a constant basis, and throwing myself deeply into novel after novel as an escape mechanism. 

My daughters asked me what my favorite drink might be. Off the cuff, I said “Shamrock Shake.” 100% not true. It was just the most imaginative thing I could come up with under pressure.

They said “We will make it for you…… How do you make it?”

I said first, you need a four-leaf clover. That bought me 20 minutes of free time while they went on a hunt for four-leaf clover. I could hear them chatting outside the window. I could hear Phoebe trying to convince Eliza that I was joking; there is no such thing as a four-leaf clover or a Shamrock Shake. 

I felt sad that I had lied to my daughters for the sake of my own entertainment. When Eliza finally came back in, utterly dejected, a while later, I had to cop to my deception. “I was just messing with you, sweetheart. Shamrock Shakes aren’t really made with four-leafed clovers.”

Naturally, she asked, “What are they made of then?”

“I have absolutely no idea,” I had to admit.

“Where do we get one?”

“At McDonalds on St. Patrick’s Day.”

“What is McDonalds?”

Medal, please.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What I’m reading:

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Why your Apple Watch credits you with fewer calories than you expect on Cult of Mac

The Midlife Unraveling by Brene Brown

 What I’m watching:

The wonderful PBS documentary about farming in the Hilltowns MADE HERE: Root Hog Or Die

What I’m eating:

Thinking of trying to make up for the lies with making these for my kids.


Share Button