No. 3 You Know When You're Bored
Not that I was wrong when I wrote Reason No. 1 about not going nuts because I had to wait in a line a few minutes - I just hadn't been noticing enough. That is, no matter how carefully I plan my life - always trying to have escape hatches - I sometimes find myself stuck in something BORRRING. Though I do have a certain tolerance for doing nothing, as evidenced by the fact that this lvideo of Flippy Cat doing very little makes me laugh out loud.
But I have had occasions recently to be trapped listening to some narcissist who is just not going to stop talking about herself (or himself, but the point is, never about me). A minister at a funeral who really got into selling his wisdom and charm until everybody around me was also fidgeting. A woman who launched into a monologue at a lunch about, apparently, every nature documentary she ever watched in her whole life. Do I need to go on? You know these people.
Last night I unfortunately paid money to see a film about an aged celebrity who has often been photographed at worthy activities like civil rights marches, because he was a celebrity, while hundreds of thousands of what we call "little" people really made up the action and got beat up and went to jail. The film about his life got tedious, but at least it was film, something was happening. But when the "interview" with him began there wasn't any visual to distract me. I put the word "interview" in quotes because it was in fact another person saying as much as they could about their work before the admirable celebrity launched into another ten minutes about his work. You never want to give some people the stage. Also, two hours is long enough for any public event.
I happen to be attracted to the basic anti-American Eastern ideal of being "small" - that is, having humility, not standing out from the crowd. Buddhism makes a point of this (as did Jesus, who was from the Middle East), but I had already figured out in my youth that being with certain relatives was at times going to be stunningly BORRRINGGG as they were pulling privilege and dispensing wisdom in far too many words, or telling a story that illuminated their brilliance or wonderfulness, and you just had to sit there, whether they were your parents or, oh, someone else's. Some things you endure.
I believe that the narcissist's life is basically unsatisfying, and I am sorry for these people who work ceaselessly to convince everyone that they are special; I have a feeling they must sometimes, when they are not holding audience, feel lonely and unhappy. After all, they are missing out on genuine relationships, in which one person talks and wait, here it is - the other person listens.
I got subjected to a string of boredoms lately, and realized that all my mental tricks are sometimes not enough to occupy me until I can escape. That's why I'm not exactly retracting Reason No. 1, but modifying it. And here's the thing - after many years of working on mindfulness, I now realize how annoyed I am by certain people. And that means that sometimes I can avoid them.