“The key to the whole thing was boredom.”
– Hal Chase, quoted from Jack’s Book: An Oral Autobiography of Jack Kerouac
Written by Barry Gifford and Lawrence Lee in 1978
I am on a great streak, and using the word great doesn’t justify on how incredible this life is. My mother, one of a many others, used to tell my brother and I that boring people are bored. That statement did the trick when it came time to sparking spontaneity. This was especially true when we were kids. Sitting around, watching television, my mother would ask us what we were doing. Tone was something we didn’t pick up on–okay, it wasn’t that we didn’t pick up on it, but this was much more of a conscious decision to disregard it–and as either hypothetical or rhetorical as the question was, Mike and I would always answer with the most obvious answer(s): nothing or watching some television. This would spark some aggravation, and mom would retort with asking us as to why we were not outside.
I had and will have plenty of opportunities to write about my childhood, so I will stop here before rolling along on some tangent about outdoor childhood activities. Mike, myself, and the rest of the guys in the neighborhood always came up with creative ways to keep occupied every week of the year. However, whenever the opportunity to use the five-letter b-word, stopping and thinking before proceeding with mind vomit.
Mind vomit: the thoughts and words produced from being bored or idle. Mind vomit has the consistency of leaves which have been dwelling in eaves for way too long, not being cleaned out and left to sit through a number of seasons. These gutter leaves have a snotty texture.
That will make you think twice about being bored.
Being bored, or expecting to think you are bored is only a thought catalyst. You can convince yourself to exercise, to read, or to clean and take care of chores around the house. However, you can utilize this boredom to treat yourself for working, running on fumes, and vegging out watching mindless television shows or playing video games. Why the hell not, right?
More often than not, the Sherwood boys would ride our bikes around or venture into the woods. We would catch insects, preferably Japanese beetles or bees (bees proved to be more of a challenge), and then fry them under a magnifying glass. If these ideas failed, we tried to weasel our way to play video games at either the Volles’ or Collins’ households. One time, we had to hightail it out of the Volles’ house, and I went to escape through the sliding glass door. However, the door was still shut and I upright face-planted into the pane.
Now, boredom is beaten by several factors. If you have kids, you probably will never be bored again; once they are grown up and out of the house, you will have forgotten to be bored. If you are in a relationship, you have another person to suggest ideas for things to do–you would hope. This is an important thing, because if one half of the relationship cannot pick up the momentum while the other has a brain fart or incapacitated, then you are screwed. However, this is all my opinion. Finding yourself making all the decisions, realizing that (a) you’ve been the only one making suggestions and footing the bills, or (b) hinting–perhaps being silent–and hoping that you want the person to step up, and/or (c) the relationship is flatlining: it’s time to move on. You’re either playing wall ball by yourself or participating in a match with another person.
When you’re single, the possibilities to eliminate boredom are most high. Go out on dates, take a road trip and listen to music–do I really have to go on, beating a dead horse? Don’t complain that you cannot find a date, because you can. It’s not that trying means that you are pushing too hard, you just don’t give a shit. You and your relationship status–when single–defines your being your own worst enemy. You can be picky, but that only lasts for a short amount of time; it’s a bullshit excuse which will only leave friends and family thinking that you need to pull the stick out of your ass. Sure, they may not be good enough, but–shit–they are good enough for right now.
Besides, going out and doing something by yourself may bring you luck. If you have gone to the grocery store or library or other cliche place of interest, which aren’t working, when does it click in your head that it’s time to find a new place.
I haven’t hit the reason or implication as to why Hal Chase was quoted in the second segment of the biography. “The City,” the segment is titled, is accompanied by the quote at the top of this post along with a picture of himself, Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs (1944).
To feed off of my Kerouac obsession, would lean toward boredom to push/inspire Kerouac to travel and write his On the Road. After all, why not? It’s not exactly full blown boredom, but Kerouac was probably bored enough with the northeast to travel west, seizing the day and writing about his journeys. After all, it is something to do. It’s personally new. It’s exciting and without-a-doubt inspiring.
When I hit 27, I wanted to travel across the country. However, I met Sarah and my focus was deferred indefinitely. It’s not that I wanted to recreate Kerouac’s travels, because–as possible as it can be done–I wanted to have my own experiences. Plus, I wouldn’t have had to thumb rides; no one does that nowadays. However, I still desire to see the rest of our country.
The question is what do I want to invest in more: travelling abroad or within the United States? My brother and his girlfriend did it right, flying out to the northwest and renting a Mustang to drive through Portland and down the coast of California. However, I don’t want to do this alone. As much as I could take everything in at my own pace, I just feel that travelling experiences should be shared. I’m not that desperate or bored–for that matter–to venture out. That’s a last resort. However, I would never have considered my solo trip to Italy as desperation. It was the call to adventure and to see family. That was one of my finest decisions, and it was life changing.
Kerouac embraced his travels with others, and I am sure he and others came up with and reminiced about inside jokes and occurances. Until I reach that point of desperation, I will sit on my urges for travel, patiently, waiting for those perfect moments to experience life with another or others. I have my future opportunities to visit New York City, which I love so dearly, visiting friends I love so dearly. If life takes me there, to live, I am not betting on this just yet, so be it.
Last night was a lot of fun. After my improv workshop, I headed to the house of a family friend before my parents wanted to go out to Brooklyn Pickle for a sandwich. My mother and her Solvay crew were meeting up to hang out and meet a new family puppy: a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Oliver. The nine-week old pup spent a fair amount of time snuggled up in my arms and within the threads of my cardigan. We became buddies before the rest of the company came. The bonding helped, because the little Oliver-Twist-named pup’s keen senses picked up on my literary appreciation.
I got my card out to the friends/family, which excited me. In my head, I was trying to convince myself that this is not just a bullshit card, because the individuals I handed them out to seemed interested in my writing. Everyone got a kick out of the description, which can be found here
. It describes who I am and how I write. My services are free for the time being, editng and ghostwriting, because of the desire to prove myself on a personal and business-related levels.
I have, also, decided–by suggestion–on copywriting my blogs in order to protect my shit. So, if you have taken or are considering taking any of my material, you’re screwed. I am taking care of it this week.
After leaving the party, I rejoined my parents at their house for more friend/family activities with the Volles and Collins parental units. This was a last-minute decision, and my dad highlighted my indecision from earlier, saying: “Thought you were too tired.” The stop was technically on the way, so I made it a point to say hello.
Lou was, also, pleased that I swung by. Oh, that cat!
I handed my cards out to the family/friends to their surprise and excitement and anticipation. My father and his comic timing: “There wasn’t enough room for bullshit artist.” Playing off of it, I told everyone that this was implied. Oh, that father of mine!
I’m not going to beat a dead horse. I’m stopping here to prevent this from getting tedious to write and for you to read. The goal is to update this more often, and pushing myself to elaborate continually would be a chore for myself and you readers.
It’s best to let things come naturally. Short posts aren’t a bad thing, right?
adventure childhood experience life literature Solvay writing