Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Boredom...It Held Me in its Grip Today Until a Conversation Lifted My Spirits

How long can I stare at the cursor blinking in the empty white box before my hands start to move across the keyboard? How many seconds, minutes...hours? This day...

It's gray. The sky is gray. The sun is clearly setting now. Not that anyone could tell as it's been hidden behind the clouds all day. The rain has pelted in fits and spurts. The satellite atop my cottage that brings the world of television to life keeps going out. The internet that connects me to the world is moving at a Miranda-Priestly-despised-glacial-pace. I read until I couldn't take it anymore. Boredom. 

How is that even possible? I ask myself. For all intents and purposes I might as well be on a desert island as no one is out and about. I'm here in Cherry Grove on Fire Island in my rental cottage alone. I'm away from the energy (both positive and negative) of New York City in an effort to relax and recharge. Yet with no tv, slow internet, and only the magazines and book I brought with me, I find myself bored. 

I could write. No. For most of the day I seemed not to be able to do that. Except for what you're reading, which is me finally putting my thoughts into this piece. 

Boredom has long been something that I feel bad for feeling. Since back in my college days. My ballet teacher used to say that she was never bored because there was always something to do. It was hard for me to believe she was telling the truth, but I never had any proof that she was lying. In reality she's right. I should never be bored. There's always something to do be it read a book, read a magazine, do a crossword puzzle, put a puzzle together, play solitaire, straighten the house, mow the lawn, clean out the garage...you get the picture. The problem is I don't always want to do those things and so I umbrella myself under that word BORED.

I was so disenchanted with the weather today that I actually took a nap. I don't enjoy taking naps. I always feel as if I've wasted the minutes or hours that I spent sleeping during the day. However, today I didn't want to be awake. I didn't want Emilia Clarke staring at me from my issue of Harper's Bazaar. I didn't want to see my nook lying on the table, its perfect-reading-for-Fire-Island novel Faggots by Larry Kramer calling my name. I didn't want to see the gray anymore. The only way to end the boredom was to trump it with something I hate more than boredom and that's napping away the afternoon. I napped. 

When I finally woke, the gray sky still loomed over the island as far as the eye could see. The sun was a barely visible circle of light whose warmth could not be felt, but whose rays were still dangerous to prolonged exposure. I took a deep breath. I put on my clothes. I made myself leave my cottage. I wandered down a different path this time toward the same destination. It didn't change much. What did change was my attitude. 

I was the only patron at the restaurant, Cherry's. Alone. I see a pattern here for this day. I was alone at my cottage. I'm alone at Cherry's. What is happening? Then my waiter, Gregory, sat down and we started talking. As I was the only patron, he had nothing better to do than take a load off and chat with me for a while. We talked about the gray sky, the frustration of the rain, the disconnecting from social media when your internet isn't cooperating. We talked about writing, quiet time, television shows (specifically his favorite Desperate Housewives). Before I knew it the gray sky and the hidden sun no longer had a grip on my spirit. I was no longer bored. I was having a conversation with a stranger and it was easy...and enjoyable. 

As much as I enjoy my alone time (and I do enjoy my alone time) there are those days when a I just need to connect with another person. I may not even realize it at the time. When I took myself to Cherry's today I had no idea it was going to be empty. I had no idea what I would find. I didn't even know that I was going to end up at Cherry's. But because I did, I met Gregory who initiated a conversation and got me to talking, which was exactly what I needed. 

As you can tell this box in which I'm typing is no longer empty. It's full of words. Ramblings maybe. Regardless, there are letters strung together to make words. I'm no longer bored. I'm content. The television is off. The internet is faster than it was this afternoon. Emilia Clarke is still staring at me from the cover of Harper's Bazaar. I'm not intimidated. I will read her story. Maybe even later tonight. But for now my cottage is only lit by the light of my computer screen. A breeze is blowing through the open doors. It may rain again. It might not. The cloud of despondency that hung over my head for most of the day has floated up to join its sisters in the sky. All of them will blow away sooner or later. For now, I just have to be happy about being where I am and getting a grip on boredom before it gets its grip into me again.