Tuesday, 20 April 2010


"May you live in interesting times"
Chinese curse

Have you noticed that life, real honest-to-goodness life,
with murders and catastrophes and fabulous inheritances,
happens almost exclusively in the newspapers?

Jean Anouilh,  The Rehearsal


(Do kids still say that, in long drawn out yawns, in reply to any suggestion by an adult that a certain activity might be of interest to them?)

Occasionally, I treat myself to a facial massage. When Helen, the beauty therapist asked me, "Have you done anything exciting since I last saw you", while trying to peel the patina of ages off my face, I was thrown off balance. I was prepared for an hour's pampering, not for a question and answer session. Besides, I prefer my hairdressers, masseuses and beauticians to be silent; there's enough going on  in my head to send me to distraction already. Helen is a sweet young woman, usually quiet; perhaps she'd been on a refresher course where the lecturer had told her that she must engage the client in conversation, to show an interest.

"So, have you done anything exciting?"

In a word, "no".  "Certainly nothing you would find exciting".

When I thought about it a bit more I came to realize how boring my life must seem to a young, busy, working wife and mother of three school age kids.

Last week we went  to see a "boring" play, Pinter's  The Caretaker, one day, and entertained a group of very elderly people to tea the next;  I also had lunch and a giggle with a friend, a real highlight. Spending the day gardening, walking the dog, shopping for and cooking dinner, doing household chores, reading the papers, watching TV, talking to a neighbour about nothing in particular, taking the dog to the vet, spending an hour on a fiendishly difficult crossword, getting the car serviced, going to the pub with Beloved,  that's the usual picture. In a good month social life picks up a bit, there might be a party or two, or a visit to a concert thrown in. But on the whole, life is spent at home, doing nothing much.

I still write letters, by hand, on paper, to friends who dislike emails and typed manuscripts. On average, I write about once every two  months to each of them;  composing an interesting letter that deals with all the news of a couple of months is getting harder all the time; on paper one can't just waffle on as one does in a blog, a quick soundbite as in an email is not suitable either. I have to think, compose proper sentences, paragraphs with meaning and real news.  At no other time am I more aware of how eventless my life has become.

Wendy Cope

the English poet,
summed it up beautifully.

Being Boring

If you ask me 'What's new?', I have nothing to say
 Except that the garden is growing.
 I had a slight cold but it's better today.
 I'm content with the way things are going.
 Yes, he is the same as he usually is,
 Still eating and sleeping and snoring.
 I get on with my work. He gets on with his.
 I know this is all very boring.

 There was drama enough in my turbulent past:
 Tears and passion-I've used up a tankful.
 No news is good news, and long may it last,
 If nothing much happens, I'm thankful.
 A happier cabbage you never did see,
 My vegetable spirits are soaring.
 If you're after excitement, steer well clear of me.
 I want to go on being boring.

 I don't go to parties. Well, what are they for,
 If you don't need to find a new lover?
 You drink and you listen and drink a bit more
 And you take the next day to recover.
 Someone to stay home with was all my desire
 And, now that I've found a safe mooring,
 I've just one ambition in life: I aspire
 To go on and on being boring.


  1. I like to think that what you're talking about is called 'striking a happy tedium'. To me, especially after a day like today at work, it sounds sheer bliss.

  2. As Fran says, 'striking a happy tedium'. After years of being under the cosh, either studying or working - most times, both - I now feel extremely privileged to be able to choose or snooze without blowing a fuse.

  3. Boring? With new flowers bursting into bloom all around? A hen going broody -- will she bring off a hatch? Rain -- at last -- damping our fear of brush fires. My life is Full of incident. ;-)

  4. What some young people may look at as 'boring', I look at as 'being'. Being with the simple life as it flows ... noticing, enjoying, wondering, meandering, appreciating ... beautiful being ... not boring at all.

    Enjoyed this post Friko ... I destest all the phony frivolity at the hairdresser and often shut my eyes as if I am dozing as a signal I do not want to talk ... or listen to all their stories. I do that for a living! Surely they must enjoy having the occasional client who prefers they not talk. It must be tiring!

  5. My mind always goes blank when someone asks "what have you been doing lately?" or "what's new?". This post expresses exactly how I feel. I love my pleasnt, unexciting life, but there isn't a lot happening.

    As a massage therapist I am surprised when people insist on talking through their treatment. I have now start with a new client by saying "now is your time to feel the silence for an hour".

  6. Makes me glad I can still cut my own hair, and don't need to suffer inane chat in a salon. Loved the non-boring Boring poem...

  7. Young people are always bored. Someone - not young - said to me recently, You must be bored stiff living on the boat without a tele!

    Well, I replaced the tele the thieves stole, but I still rarely turn it on. I am rarely bored, though sometimes I still feel a little at a loss. I live alone.

    I know the poet, but not the poem. Thank you for posting it.

  8. Good grief..I couldn't agree more. I endured a hair cut not too long ago while listening to all the drama over a bitter divorce! I sat nearly paralyzed.. thinking if I told this lady how I felt- I'd wind-up with a strange looking hairdo?
    I think so differently now with my animals at home..even my food tastes better to me than many restaurants- it just doesn't get any better than this- to me anyway? I never used to feel that way when I was younger.
    Your life doesn't sound so boring to me..great musings Friko!

  9. Hi Friko

    ditto for me

    I am so boring to the younger generation, in fact was told by two of my kids to 'get a life'

    I love being a boring old fart...
    Its such a great life...

    happy days

  10. If that's what boring is - bring it on I say. I love my 'boring' life. Feel so sorry for all those folks stuck in exotic places when all they desperately want to do is to get home.

  11. God save me from chatty hairdressers, manicurists and and taxi drivers. Time to myself is precious at best - I long for quiet in the off moments.
    If your life is boring, I say "Bring it on!"

  12. Love the poem - fits us at our home to a "T" and we wouldn't have it any other way. With the 1st 10 years of our marriage living the Army aviation way of life we had quite enough excitement, thank you. I am also blessed with a very calm and quiet hairdresser but oh my, last Monday I had the world's biggest chatterbox while doing my 6 month exam/cleaning - how to respond with dental tools and cleaning equipment in your mouth will always remain a puzzlement to me. :o)
    Love your post!

  13. The problem with boring lives is that it doesn't give one much to write about. My life is even less eventful than yours, until I get on a plane and change locations. When surrounded by my kids and all their drama/fun I get revved up again, which definitely helps my writing.
    The hairdresser thing....in Calgary I love to go as my hairdresser has become a friend and we have a great visit. But my French hairdresser is a young guy in his 20s with whom I have zero in common and our default conversation is always, without exception, the state of his house construction. I can manage serious conversations in French but chat-chat is difficult.
    The biggest thing both of these places lack is The Pub. That alone would make my week exciting.

  14. It's still the inevitable response to inquiries such as: How was school today?

    Excellent post.

  15. I think having a boring life is what we all strive for. I just spent three days babysitting two toddlers and while is was wonderful...it was a wonderful roller coaster ride...and I am glad to be back to boring. Smile the next time at your facial and say "Well, I am thinking of having an affair...but I can't really talk about that." and then shut up.

  16. Now that is infuriating. I know I left you a lengthy comment yesterday but it is not here! Can't possibly reproduce it but on the lines of loving Wendy Cope and being delighted to have reached a very boring and contented stage of my life, which was not always how it was!

  17. Hi there!

    I'm in the same league as you. I prefer it if people who pamper me would keep silent. It can be a little awkward for them so maybe that's why they're trying to strike a conversation.

    If you think your life is boring, that's normal and it's better to be bored cos you know you're not contented and you wanna do or be in something exciting that's gonna pump up your adrenaline. I say look for things that you can have fun and spend some time with.

  18. I often think of the line from the Talking Heads song: "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens."

    Here's one short and sweet from Ms. Dickinson:

    How happy is the little stone
    That rambles in the road alone,
    And doesn't care about careers,
    And exigencies never fears;
    Whose coat of elemental brown
    A passing universe put on;
    And independent as the sun,
    Associates or glows alone,
    Fulfilling absolute decree
    In casual simplicity.

  19. Fran - don't think i'd like to be a teacher, I hear such horror stories from some of my teaching friends.

    Martin H - so you think retirement does have something to recommend it?

    Vicki Lane - you are also still working at something you enjoy and are good at. Unfair comparison.

    Bonnie - another one who still enjoys her work.
    Conscious living is better done when one is not rushing around madly; giving oneself permission to live fully in the here and now is definitely not boring. Nor can the person who does that ever be boring.

    Violetsky - I am glad you said that, my massage therapist is also silent during treatment and I certainly never volunteer to speak until we are done.

    Jinksy - I actually like being pampered, it's so beautifully soothing. I just don't want the pamperer to speak.

    Duchess - Living on a boat, alone, sounds like something one has to get used to; I think I could do it if there were enough space to get up and down ladders.

  20. Kilauea Poetry - my life is not boring to me, just uneventful. There's always something going on in house and garden and in the village.

    Delwyn - I thought we 'had a life' and didn't need to get one. Perhaps the kids should get a life worth living. They'll get there eventually, Delwyn.

    mollygolver - I don't even go to exotic places, I quite like it here.

    Dave King - thanks Dave, for kids everything is boring if you ask. Best not to ask and they might even secretly enjoy 'stuff'.

    Tabor - brilliant idea, I really think I might use that one. Can't stop smiling when I think of her reaction.

    Pondside - Until then, you have something to look forward to.

    taylorsoutback - that's something I don't understand either, lots of dentists do that.

    Deborah - think of Jane Austin who hardly ever went away from home and didn't really know all that many people and still she managed to make her books burst with living characters and knew all there is to know about human nature.

  21. elizabethm - sorry your comment got mislaid, Blogger does that sometimes. thank you for trying again; btw I don't think your life is boring, as mine isn't. Not to us.

    Halfcrazy - Hi, thanks for visiting.thanks for the advice too, I think I am well on the way to doing that.

    Mark Kerstetter - thanks Mark; now dear Emily is another one of those ladies whose life, on the face of it, would seem to have been totally boring, yet underneath a lot went on.

  22. Rarely as it is, had five hours of "nothing to do" today, before having a lesson. Leaving the city and its centre far behind, went to sit me down at the beach. Sunny it was, nearly 25C, as my eyes got heavy and it was still enough time left to take a nap.
    All of a sudden.
    I saw a hand.
    From behing.
    In my bag !
    You might only imagine the rush of blood inside me, jumping up, turning around. First he said that he didn't take a thing, saw my mobile in his hand though, which he did return, luckily !
    Off he went. Leaving me, trying to calm.
    How very nice it must be to spend a few hours, being boring ;)
    A wonderful Thursday for you.

  23. Friko, it seems as if you have done it again...written a post that stirred up many comments. You really do have a knack for this posing situations that connect with many of us.

    And so we write back.

    I have a life that is much more busy than I would prefer, yet filled with much that I wish I could discard. My work days can last nine or more hours and be chockablock with stimulation from people, telephone conference calls, computer messages, paperwork, company politics, merchandising the shop's style, etc. Boring is in the eye of the beholder, or in the soul of she/he who experiences that boredom.

    What is the desired opposite of boredom?

    I love having my hair stylist use her talents to make my hair look better than any other stylist has ever managed. She is a good listener, but is not at all into small talk. She's much younger than I am, yet we have many common interests, from hair (!) to politics, to style in general, to the vagaries of small business, to ... so much more. Even so, usually we also enjoy the peaceful quiet that soothes us both as she works and I relax.

    Certainly, your posts are never, never boring! xo

  24. Holy Cow would ya look at all of these replies and you are bored???? Your post got me thinking about boredom and really if I am doing what I like to do then how is that boring? So I figure it's really about having a look at what I like to do and taking some steps in that direction. A good post Friko-got me thinking and moving.

  25. MMMM!

    A silent hair-person; what a dream for me too!

    Just being alive is kind of exciting...that's what you & I know...

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

  26. robert - you are back, I am glad to see. Sorry that you had to meet with a thief the only day you get a bit of free time.

    Frances - you are a very kind lady and I thank you for your friendly words. I am sure that you could never be bored, whether working or not. There is too much going on both in front and behind the scenes in your day and that will not change when you stop working.

    maggie - no, no, no, I am not bored; I just realize that others would think my life very boring.

    Cloudia - Of course, we know.

  27. We came back from Tennessee and drove through Alabama. We were going to Mississippi on Saturday but decided against it as a blogger was in town and I wished to meet her. If she had not come in (because of the volcano) we would have gone to Mississippi and stayed close to that town where the tornado landed (must be my good karma that prevented it!) but we came back home. We still had to spend part of the night in the downstairs bathroom waiting to hear sirens announcing the tornado had come here to Georgia – it was a false alarm for us. It’s all relative.


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