I Like My Boring Life


Yesterday was a beautiful, early spring day.  Warm and sunny, it was the kind of day that demands outside activities and encourages risk-taking adventure.  I could have gone skydiving on such a cloudless day; I could have gone rock climbing.  I could have jumped off the bluffs into the frigid but refreshing lake water below; I could have gone hang gliding off a mountainside or horseback riding through the countryside.

I could have engaged in any of these activities, but I didn’t and I wouldn’t because, as I have established previously, I am a coward, and more importantly, I am a boring person.  I readily admit this unfortunate personality trait; in fact, it would be silly of me to attempt to deny such an obvious statement of fact when there is so much supporting evidence.

Exhibit A (Favorite Pastime): Whenever I am invited to a big, social gathering with lots of people (most of whom I will know), good food, great music, and guaranteed laughs, I have a hard time convincing myself to attend.  It’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy being there–I probably would–and I’m not trying to be anti-social.  It’s just that my recliner, my book, and my pillow are often so appealing and so comforting that I can’t make myself leave them behind.  Bor-ing.

Exhibit B (Preferred Mode of Transportation): I traded in the sexy sleekness of my sporty Camaro convertible for the comfort of a Chrysler minivan.  Who does that?

Exhibit C (Daily Menu Selections): For the last three months, I have eaten oatmeal every morning for breakfast and peanut butter and crackers, carrots and an orange every work day for lunch.  No variations, no substitutions–and even more telling, no complaints.

Exhibit D (Greatest Passion): “Lolly, lolly, lolly, get your adverbs here!”  I love grammar.  Grammar rocks.  If I were given the opportunity, I could (and I would) talk about subordinate clauses, unclear pronoun references, gerund phrases and dangling modifiers all day to anyone willing to listen (and then happily conjugate irregular verbs in my dreams).  Unfortunately, so far I have found no one–no one!–willing to listen and must therefore keep my passion bottled up inside until it leaks out accidentally, drip by unwelcome drip, in conversation.

Exhibit E (Greatest Weakness): I am lousy at making small talk.  I can remark on the the heat, the wind, the predicted storms as well as the next person; I can inquire briefly about spouses and children and jobs–and then I am stumped.  I realize that few people outside of the English department want to talk about geeky grammar (vocabulary or poetry, Shakespeare or Steinbeck), I know that most people probably aren’t interested in my frequently controversial opinions on world issues, and I’m sure not going to bring up politics or religion (danger! danger!).  So, I will stand in awkward silence, racking my brain for something witty or intelligent or safe to say, while others squirm in misery and wait for an opportunity to politely exit my presence.

Exhibit F (Unvaried Appearance): I have worn the same hairstyle for over 20 years (probably closer to 30).  I have 17 pairs of black pants (in a variety of sizes and styles) hanging in my crowded closet.  Black is slimming.  Black goes with everything.  Black is practical.  You can never have too many pairs of black pants.  And when it comes to evening wear, I do not own an evening gown and can’t imagine an occasion for which I would need one. In fact, my evening attire of choice is flannel pajamas in winter or an over-sized t-shirt and shorts  in summer.  (By golly, no one is ever going to accuse me of trying to be sexy!)

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have I provided enough incriminating evidence to convince you–without a shadow of a doubt–of my alleged boring personality (or need I continue with additional evidence)?  Have I confirmed what you already suspected?  And if you’re still undecided, here’s another little fact that most people don’t know:  My mother’s maiden name was “Boring.”  I’m not kidding.  I have “Boring” in my genes.

Several months ago, I pledged to take more risks, “to tiptoe ever so slightly away from the safe and familiar.”  To date, I have not kept that pledge.  But here’s the thing–does it really matter as long as I am content with my ol’ boring self?  Surely there are others not so different from me, people who don’t need unnecessary drama in their personal lives, people who aren’t interested in challenging the status quo and who appreciate the comfort of knowing that today will be quite similar to yesterday and the day before–and that tomorrow holds the promise of being much the same way.

So what if I didn’t do anything adventurous–or productive–on a sunny Saturday?  Sometimes, I think, we get too hung up on the notion that life should be exciting when all it really needs to be is appreciated and enjoyed.  I breathed in the heavenly aroma of a just-starting-to-bloom lilac bush.  I basked in the warmth of glorious April sunshine.  I gazed at a brilliant sun descending into the depths of a glassy lake.  I watched a ballgame; I watched a movie.  I read, I smiled, and I laughed (and once I even snorted).  Boring?  Maybe.  Perfect?  Definitely.

“Try to be like the turtle–at ease in your own shell.”

–Bill Copeland

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About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
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8 Responses to I Like My Boring Life

  1. Janet Taber says:

    All of that is fine and good, except that you left out one teensy detail….the leather-wearing, speeding-loving, motorcycle-riding part of your life. That, my dear, is NOT unexciting!

    • I suppose you’re right about that, although I don’t ride that often and I’m always the rider (not the driver) so I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. The leather is for protection, and I ALWAYS wear a helmet–so even when I’m taking that infrequent risk, I’m still trying to be responsible and careful!

  2. Julie says:

    Ok. This will be our code……whenever I show up in your office to chat, to avoid whatever pile is on my desk, or to rant on any number of subjects, and you want me to leave, simply bring up dangling modifiers. I shall exit in a flash! In fact, you will be left speechless by the seeming impossibility of a burly, middle-aged, Norwegian chick moving SO quickly. Anything involving the word “gerund” will likely provoke a similar response. Now you know……=)

    • Not fair! I have listened to, cringed, and had vivid nightmares over more than one of your stories of a day in the life of a science teacher (the anatomy stories alone are enough to make the stoutest heart tremble!). Will your quick exit be a result of the fear of impending boredom–or just plain fear? I choose to believe just plain fear.

  3. Julie says:

    True enough. Science stories ARE usually more gory than grammar tales, aren’t they? I apologize for any nightmare-worthy stories….just a little. Don’t tell anyone that I like grammar; however, my ability to discuss it in an intelligent fashion is limited. Yes, it would be pure, unadulterated fear that drove me from the room……well, that and my search for a grammar handbook! FYI: Tomorrow’s goal is to split as many infinitives as possible. 🙂 Tis good to have goals!

    • I will forgive the split infinitives, but if you ever utter a “She don’t” or an “I seen” in my presence, I will immediately and forevermore refuse to listen to your gory science tales–it’s a fair trade-off.

  4. bronxboy55 says:

    You know what you like, and you refuse to put on an act in order to be just like everyone else. I don’t think that’s boring at all; I think it’s refreshing. I’ll discuss grammar with you anytime.

    • YIPPEE! There are others like me–who knew?! Seriously, your use of the language is one of the many reasons I enjoy reading YOUR writing so much. Thank you for your kind words.

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