Last night, I met some family and friends for dinner. I hadn't seen some of these people in a really long time, and was pleased to have the chance to catch up with them. Dr. Jon and I arrived by transit at the hotel where our company was staying and, as we greeted each other, someone said, "Did you have any trouble finding the hotel?" This was my response.
"As a matter of fact it was tricky because one of the LRT stops was closed. LRT is light rail transit, which is what they have here. Anyway, the stop was closed and so we got off one stop early so then we walked past the closed stop, but then it turns out you guys are right by another stop and we should have gotten off at that one and really, I don't know why we didn't, because it's closer. When I looked up the directions online, it said to get off at the stop which was closed, as I said. Misleading directions, I guess, but we know for next time."
Dream: Stop being so boring.
Goal: Achievable? Is it? I went on and on about the transit trip like I was in a play and another actor missed his entrance and a director offstage was hissing, "Vamp! Vamp!". I'm noticing monologues about closed transit stops and the high price of cucumbers and "we thought it was going to stop raining but then it didn't" creeping into my daily life lately. This is unacceptable.
Until I looked the terms up in the dictionary, I was guilty of using the term "bore" and "boor" interchangeably. I thought if someone was described as "boorish", they were boring. Not so. To be boorish is to be clumsy or ill-mannered. No fun to be labelled as such, but I think I'd rather be a boor than a bore.
The cruel thing about being boring is that you don't know that you are. Nobody shares an anecdote at a party hoping that it brings the conversation to a screeching halt. No one is so out of touch with social norms that they intentionally seek to alienate other people by being uninteresting. Even assholes think what they have to say is relevant. I'm only 30 years old, I can't be boring already!
Plan: Define just what makes a person boring and seek to avoid those characteristics. Such as:
Rambling. See how short these paragraphs are today? I'm trying to make a point concisely without a lot of excess information. I knew a girl in university who was a terrible rambler. Like Ellen DeGeneres but faster and less dance-y. I think she's one of those people who think transparency is the route to likeability, so it's really cute if you tell everyone exactly what you're thinking all the time. So for instance, I might say to her: "(Rambly), do you want a piece of gum?" and she'd go, "Oh wow, thanks James! I'm actually already chewing gum, though! Ha ha ha! Twinsies! Ha ha ha! I have this cherry gum because the other day I was buying a bottle of water at the store and tried to pay debit and they were like 'Debit has to be three dollars or more' and I was like 'What???' so I bought the gum and all they had was cherry, so..." and on and on and on.
Humourlessness. Look, we all don't need to be laugh-a-minute Steve Harveys here. I like to engage in frivolity and wordplay, with the occasional ribald quip, and you don't have to join me, but at least crack a smile and attempt to be funny back. Dr. Jon, for instance, is not one of those people who instinctively says funny things, but he will say or do things that I find funny and he will laugh along, oblivious, but pleased to have contributed. For instance, as we were falling asleep last night, he suddenly went, "Oh my god! I completely forgot to tell you! Julia Gillard was ousted! The PM of Australia! Anyway, good night honey." Kills me. Like what the fuck, Jon? And he realized, as I collapsed into laughter, how silly it was to present this little pre-sleep factoid (which, sorry Australia, is completely irrelevant under the circumstances), and giggled alongside me until we both drifted off. Anyway, my point is, people don't have to be funny to not be boring, but you must at least try to appreciate a good joke, y'know?
I don't know whether it's narcissism or social naivete, but I think the worst boredom offence is the need to impress people with the least impressive information imaginable. We've all been at the party with this guy. The one who won't stop telling about his fishing trip. "The guy says to me, 'You gonna use a 860 lure?' and I said, 'Whaddaya think I'm catching? MACKERAL?' I was just laughin' at him. 860! What did he think I'm catching? Mackeral? I was just laughin'."
So many people end stories by saying, "So I was just like...Wow. Like, I'm not even joking right now. It was like, are you even serious?" That's not a good ending to a story. That's your version of a surprised reaction to a completely mundane thing that happened. I sat behind two girls on the bus today and one said to the other, "Jeremy was like, 'I'm gonna be late, I'll see you tomorrow.' And I'm all, "THAT just happened! Like, are you kidding me right now?!" Is who kidding you and about what? CRAFT A TALE, YOU VAPID TEEN!
It appears as I read this back that it's hard to describe the characteristics of a boring person without being incredibly boring yourself. I wasn't going to write anything at all tonight as I've had a busy couple of days and am a bit overtired and knew I had nothing important to say. But maybe a dangerous sign that you're becoming a boring person is choosing to close yourself off to other people. As my evening with friends and family progressed, I think I became more engaged and engaging. It's amazing how people you're truly close with put up with you when you're as dull as cold Ovaltine at a bus station. So if you'll forgive my indulgent lapses into mediocrity, I'll keep writing every week until I have something interesting to say. And I'm not even joking right now.