I took a long walk after work this afternoon. Like most days, I returned home to find my children in the loving care of their Nonna and enjoying their mid-day routine of watching cartoons, eating everything in the house that comes in a bag, and generally unwinding from a long day at school.
William, my kindergartener, was seated on the dingy floral sofa that we demoted to playroom duty years ago. His chubby little feet were sweaty from recent de-shoeing – the right foot propped on his carpet-burned left knee. In his lap sat a bowl of Doritos. On television played an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants that he has seen five million times.
“I’m bored!” he announced.
How can he stand to watch the same show over and over? He must know this episode by heart, I thought to myself. He could probably rattle it off more accurately than he could recite The Lord’s Prayer or The Pledge of Allegiance.
“You’re bored?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m bored.”
I have so many comebacks to this complaint. Sometimes I lament how rarely I enjoy the opportunity to be bored. Sometimes I say, “A bored person is a boring person,” and then explain the meaning of the expression to a very disinterested child. On a bad day I shut off the television and give the whiner a few chores to do so that he will feel occupied. Today I sat down on the grungy couch, kicked off my shoes, kissed my son on his nacho cheese-covered cheek and basked in his boredom.