diamond geezer

 Wednesday, May 14, 2003

20 top ways to fill time and avoid boredom (8-10)

8) TV & film: From John Logie Baird to Big Brother 4, and from the Lumière Brothers to Matrix Reloaded, it's hard to underestimate the importance of these two rectangular screens in the battle against daily boredom. In just the last 25 years television has gone from a daytime desert to hundreds of digital television channels available on demand. You don't even have to watch any of these channels properly, you can just spend half an hour flicking through them all on your remote, only to find when you complete the loop that a new set of programmes has begun and you can flick round them all again. No great loss, because most of the programmes are repeats anyway, either from 25 years ago or from 3, 6, 9 and 12 hours ago instead. As for films, we recycle these even more than we do TV programmes. We go to the cinema to watch an endless series of remakes and sequels, then six months later we buy them all on DVD to watch over and over again at home, despite the fact we know the entire plot backwards by the fifth run-through and can recite the special feature director's commentary word-for-word by the tenth. We may complain about all the repeats on television, but it seems we're more than happy to repeat our films.

9) House & garden: I live in a rented furnished non-ground-floor flat. In London this may be expensive, but the great advantage is that I don't have to spend any of my time pretending I'm taking part in Changing Rooms or Ground Force. I don't look at the magnolia walls in my living room and decide that I must have some primary colours on the west-facing wall, new curtains, brushed-chrome light fittings and a new dining table. I don't have a garden with hundreds of plants requiring my attention, a lawn to mow and a raft of decking waiting to be installed. In fact, my house and garden place virtually no demands at all on my time, leaving me to spend my weekends as I choose. Meanwhile the rest of you homeowners get to wander from department store to DIY hypermarket instead, and then spend most of your remaining daylight hours attempting to prevent the plants in your garden from growing the way they're naturally programmed to. I know all this mini-empire building makes you feel better, and your lives would feel somehow incomplete if you didn't spend each weekend grouting and hoeing, but at least I get a weekend.

10) Alcohol: It's amazing how much time people are willing to spend sipping fermented plant juice. "Just the one drink for me please". They leave their own house, wander down to a building that looks suspiciously like someone else's house, and then stand around pouring huge amounts of liquid into their mouth. "And another one, why not?" Filling the bladder is a great way of filling time, even if a large proportion of that time does tend to be spent merely emptying the bladder in readiness for the next refuelling. "Go on, I'll have a double" Somehow copious amounts of alcohol never feel quite such a good idea the following morning as they did the previous night, but that rarely stops people going back for more. Regularly. "A pint of the usual thanks" Alcohol - it shortens your day, but it shortens your life too*. "Cheers!"
* See also cigarettes, caffeine, cannabis, tranquilisers, and whatever that small white tablet is that degrades your short-term memory.

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