On Boredom

It’s not that I’m bored (as I have said boredom is for boring people so I can’t admit to that now can I?) I’m just considering the nature of boredom to pass the time. I am reading on my iPad Lloyd Jones’ ‘Here at the end of the world we learn to dance’. I recently read his Booker prize winner ‘Mister Pip’. This man has the capacity to write beautiful prose about nothing at all. In the latest one I’m reading most of the book is set in a cave with four people hiding to avoid being drafted for the first world war. It is an exercise in exquisitely observed small detail.

He writes,

‘Boredom. What to do. What to do. How to fill the hours. She wishes someone would find them. She wishes it would pass. It’s Saturday and she wants to go to the cemetery. Is it even Saturday? It feels like it might be. She can’t be sure. She’s lost track of time.

They live as prisoners experience life. Without a sustaining present. Without a future to grasp hold of. So they talk about the past.’

The past certainly floods in here. Not in a negative way. I’m reminded a lot of Lucas’s early days and I can feel what a different place I was in then. Teetering on the edge of a twitchy anxiety for at least four months which most frequently manifested itself to those who didn’t know me better as something akin to arrogance. Retrospectively it was actually something closer to a sort of coping mania. Like shouting ‘No really I’m fine!’ from the edge of a cliff clinging on to the nearest tree. I’m not sure this is better but it’s more real, more grounded. I know I need more help for instance and able to ask, more because of the abnormal circumstance than greater maturity

I felt I could survive a few more weeks after I read that passage just by satisfying my creative urge and my restless soul by looking for detail in my limited surroundings

Today it is peaceful on the nursery ward as two larger than life characters have gone home. Giant Baby and Moany Mum. GB was born a whopping 14+lbs, the biggest the hospital has
ever seen. He looked like an angry fat man from day 1, poor thing, born to a mum with diabetes and dealing with huge sugar crashes. He was so big the nurses had to scrabble around to find baby clothes large enough for him as he is the size of a 6 month old. If it came down to a baby sumo competition here he would win. Although I like to think mine might stand a chance of winning on sharp elbows and cunning.

Giant Baby never took a complete feed but he would cry like a crow being tortured if he went without a snack for over half an hour and scream the house down if his mother didn’t come to comfort him. I spite of his noise and his moany mother’s antics with ten year old son, nan and hoards of mates in tow…I will miss them. Two babies went home today. Only one baby that was here when we arrived is still in residence. I am so happy for these mothers that they get to have their families all together and go home as I can imagine the elation they must feel but it’s hard not feel like the last one to be picked for the team, always the bridesmaid never the bride, the one left behind. There is a very real sense of empty space left where the babies have gone once were. In a small confined space you get used to the configurations of bodies around you. The rhythms of the familiar activity, the voices, the routine comings and goings, becomes comforting.

I continue to cut myself some slack. Today I spent two hours at home tidying and pottering. Reading the Sun to cheer myself up. Having rushed in after that the doctors hadn’t even completed their ward round and I was left hanging in the parents room twiddling my thumbs anyway. So tomorrow I will take the whole morning off and see friends. Yesterday I went swimming, drank wine and went to the supermarket (not all or any of these acts were simultaneous I hasten to add). I also went to bed early and it makes a world of difference. Still down by about an hour a night but I should feel grateful for this before I have a sleep deficit of 6 hours when they come home and want feeding through the night.

Ho hum. Another day has passed. Where did it go? Where did June and July go for that matter? It’s my 39th birthday on Sunday and I have a feeling that the next time I remember to breathe I will be forty and back at work wondering where the year went.



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