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I Will Never Be Bored Again

posted at 9:51 pm
on May. 26, 2009

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The Mono, She Got Me!

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A Musical Metaphor

I will never bored again in my life.

I came to this realization on the seven-hour train ride from Anchorage, Alaska, to Denali National Park.  This was a one-way trip; the return journey would be by bus and it’s not likely I’ll ever make this particular passage again. I had a window seat and as I settled in, I took stock of the entertainment options at my disposal for the ride.

First of all, let’s pretend I didn’t have any Internet access at all.  In fact, I could have used my iPhone on AT&T’s network for most of the trip, which meant I could connect to the Internet at any time.  But let’s pretend that I didn’t have access to the sum total of all knowledge created and digitized by modern society, that that’s somehow cheating, even though I have access to it most of my waking hours and will for the rest of my life with increaing frequency.

Instead, here’s what I had to content myself with: On my computer: hours of video: movies and TV shows and Web documentaries. Entire books, downloaded from Amazon.  Computer games with shifting maps and dozens of levels.  Yes, my battery would run out; there was undoubtedly an outlet on the train for me to recharge.  But I wouldn’t bother Why would I, when I also had….

My iPhone: thousands of photos, hundreds of songs and a few audiobooks. And of course, offline email, SMS and a phone.  Even if you hobble it: no Internet, no phone access, no GPS, there’s still plenty there to amuse and distract and fill your time.

When that battery dies, I’ll turn to the other things in my bag: a book of sudoku, probably 80 hours of diversion.  Aristotle’s “Ethics.”  Jeanette Winterson’s “The Passion”.  Stephen Pinker’s “How the Mind Works” (ok, I’m totally lying, that was in my suitcase).

And my juggling balls.  And my notebook.  And postcards to write.

Failing all that, I could look out the window. We passed a moose, a bear cub, a harlequin duck or a large swan.  The train approaches Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America, with the greatest ascent of any mountain in the world.

We saw decaying DeSotos, river crossings, flood plains of ghosts forests where the ground turned alkaline after liquifying in the 9.2 Alaskan Earthquake, air force bases, private gold mines, summer work camps, and towns ever smaller and more oddly named (Honolulu?).

The conductor, worried about our ability to self-amuse, handed out decks of cards and score pads.  I did wander part of the train, but never got the chance to explore the entire length of it, so I missed the tiki bar and the gift store.

And what did I do with my time on the train?

I slept, and stared out the window, and talked to my family-in-laws.  I took some pictures, and thought about my life in Vancouver, and composed this blog post.

And I realized that, whenever that tipping point was, whatever the day was, in the past, where I was last bored, I had forgotten to note it, and like me on this one-way train ride, I would now never pass its way again.



 
 

 

Previous entry:
The Mono, She Got Me!

Next entry:
A Musical Metaphor

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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