diamond geezer

 Thursday, May 15, 2003

20 top ways to fill time and avoid boredom (1)

1) Survival: For a large proportion of the population of the world, there is no spare time in which to get bored. In the developing world many people spend all their waking hours living hand to mouth merely to survive1. They may be out working in the fields all day long, returning exhausted to their partner2 only at nightfall. They work far harder than you or I to ensure that their families3 are provided daily with meagre rations and basic shelter. They rely on friends4 living in the same village for childcare support, the pooling of talents and for help when the harvest fails. They've never even heard of the internet5, not that they have any hope of even affording a computer, let alone plugging it in and connecting to a non-existent telephone network. They work6 not for job satisfaction nor for the money a job brings but because they have to. They can never afford the luxury of seeing any of their animals as pets7, because one day that goat is going to be lunch. They don't have a TV8, and to be honest the TV companies don't mind because these people could never afford any of the products advertised in the commercial breaks anyway. They treat their house9 as a shelter, not as an artistic canvas. Their gardens9 are tended with great effort and care, growing vegetables as a staple part of the family's diet, and not ornamental flowers to decorate the dining table. There may not be anywhere nearby that sells alcohol10, but they can knock together a homebrew based on local produce that'll knock your head off.

These people may never have heard of Peter Gabriel or Blur, but the tribal village music11 they make is so good that Peter Gabriel and Blur have heard of them. They exercise12 each day through necessity not choice, and their athletic prowess often puts better-fed nations to shame. Their gossip13 is only about people who live within walking distance, which is far more interesting than speculating about J-Lo and Eminem anyway. Their books14 are verbal, with legends and stories passed down from generation to generation. They live hundreds or even thousands of miles from the nearest mobile phone15 transmitter, but the ancient art of conversation works just as well when you actually talk to everyone you know during the course of a day anyway. Their culture16 is far older than ours, although our multinational commercial culture probably has designs on replacing theirs one day in the near future. These people never go on holiday17, but who'd want to when you already live somewhere that the rest of the world longs to visit on vacation anyway. They have no need of world news18, because they already know all the news that is important in their world. They cook their food19 merely to stay alive, not to impress those eating it with culinary flair and use of exotic ingredients. And they're always learning20 practical and useful things every day, just nothing you could test in a written examination.

Not all of the developing world lives the way I've described above, of course, but billions of people worldwide are forced to work from dawn to dusk merely to support themselves and their families. Boredom just doesn't even enter the equation. Just remember how fortunate you are to have the technology, the literacy and the time to be able to read this page. And please spare a thought (or even some cash) for those less fortunate.

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