My youngest daughter thinks I’m boring. That’s not a surprising statement coming from a 15-year-old who was forced to spend a day at Cedar Point with her folks. For anyone parenting a teenager, this is likely a familiar refrain, unless you are a Will Smith type who bungee jumps from helicopters on your 50th birthday.
That is the opposite of me, and so to a degree, I suppose I deserve that description. After all, I don’t do roller coasters or lift-and-drop rides or basically anything that goes too high or too fast. I even detest most water slides. As you can well imagine, a parent who refuses to ride any of the non-kiddie rides at one of the world’s largest amusement parks is Boring with a capital B.
The reason I don’t enjoy these types of rides matters not, though it’s my only defense against the Boring label: I don’t like not having control of my body. That’s it. I don’t like the feeling of not being able to control the environment—internal or external—of where my body goes and what it’s experiencing. If I’m going to zip around in a metal car along a metal and wood track, I want steering. I want altitude control. I want brakes. Lord help me, do I want brakes. What can I say—I’m risk adverse.
I also don’t like not having control of my mind, which is why I’ve never tried drugs, not even marijuana (that makes me adult Boring), and I don’t customarily drink to excess (double-Boring, and also, not very writerish . . .) The other reason is job-related, but that’s neither here nor there when it comes to my categorization as a Boring person. But wait, you might say. Just because I don’t partake in any of the above things doesn’t mean I’m Boring. Plenty of straight-laced people lead exciting lives! Yes, that’s true. And yet, here I am with a scarlet letter B on my chest. Or rather, a dull brown one.
Maybe there is something more to this Boring label I’ve acquired. After all, my youngest isn’t the only person who’s accused me of it. A fellow Marine at MOS school once told me, “D—, you are the most Boring person ever.” He’d said it because while everyone else spent their free time socializing and drinking, I preferred to read, write, or study. I was a divorced mother of two by that time, so I had less impetus to party. Not that I was a complete teetotaler, but I was comparatively sedate.
That was many years ago, and still today I’m much happier curled up at home with my laptop or a good book than I am going out on the town, dining and drinking and dancing. Again, I’ll qualify that by saying I love to travel and see new places, but in normal mode, give me a cup of tea and my writing journal over a line of shots and smoky pool halls any day. Boring, yes?
I expect that if my life and my personality were to be rated in a manner similar to those awful “Hot or Not” type sites, I’d come up solidly on the side of Boring. My one saving grace might be my military career but only if the raters were those who’ve never left the small towns they were born in. It’s a comparative measure and also subjective. Those who thrive on social excitement and always experiencing and doing and trying all the things—I might consider those things they do Not Boring, but does that translate into who they are as a person? Does that make them Not Boring?
I propose that it doesn’t make them not Not Boring, but it doesn’t make them necessarily any more exciting than me. The measure is subjective. I believe that who a person is in their quietest moments is a truer measure of what type of person they are than who they seem to be when they are jumping out of planes or dancing on bar tops. Who is that person when no one else is around, when it doesn’t matter to anyone but them what they are doing? Do they do all these things because they honestly thrive on the energy or because they don’t like the product of their own stillness and calm?
And now, here at last is my point. I don’t feel a need to do things I honestly don’t like just so people may consider me a Not Boring person. While I may appear to be content waiting in a checkout line or at the doctor’s office without the distraction of a smart phone (one of the other reasons my youngest thinks I’m a Boring person . . .), I’m actually observing the human race and making note of story ideas, interesting conversations, and personal dynamics. It’s all potential fodder for the worlds in my mind that I control. Maybe I’m not screaming my head off as I zoom aimlessly down a water slide, but neither am I bored as I wait—dry and static—for those who are on that slide. In my quietest moments, I’m always creating. I’m content with this and with who I am. It serves me well for the one label I truly want one day—published author.
But, who knows what the future holds? When I’m looking at fifty, I might decide it’s time to try sky diving or jumping naked into European fountains. I might climb aboard that roller coaster—the one with three loops that goes 100 miles per hour—and hold on tight for the scariest 40 seconds of my life. Maybe I will, and it won’t be because I am finally not a Boring person. It will be because retaining absolute control of my person has provided the opportunities I needed it to, and it will then be time to see what handing over control might bring. But not just yet, my dears. Not just yet. I have more worlds to create.