"May you live in interesting times"
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
B O O O O RING
(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.
the English poet,
summed it up beautifully.
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.