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The True Art of Being Boring

Have you ever noticed how people who say you bore them in a conversation always believe they’re interesting? Oh you might sit there and endlessly listen to the drivel and tripe of their personal adventure to somewhere you’ve never travelled, but then you mention a camera or a photograph. Or something about humanity. Politics. The environment. Global Warming. Science. Or, dare we mention, prison.

I’m a collection of eclectic taste and experiences so this is a regular challenge for people around me. We’ve got a word in our home called factigue. Because I love to find out things about things. I’m a researcher by nature and an information sifter by obsession. And I take great interest in the stuff below our normal attention – below football and motors and shopping and what I consider the gnawing banal.

And I live in a house and among people less than fixated on the future of the mead industry. But I talk about mead incessently… what it can be and the production techniques and the manner of distribution for business model x in a far-away part of the Globe.

The same boringness applies to being an amateur photographer. An eye lift. A look. An escape into other rooms. To our friends and family an eyebrow raises and they say “Oh you shoot photographs.” But there is never the question to look at my work (or, for that matter, to taste the mead). We’re all amateur photographers; one bazillion pictures to the camera. The danger is in clarification – I shoot film. Yawn. Disembark the slow train of Steven’s boring film topic.

I’m also passionate about prisons and the social issue of crime because I served a decade and a half in prison as a younger man; it’s a fundamental aspect of my character. My old friends. My family relationships. The majority of those tick-boxes you’d need to understand my screwed up worldview. This quirky behaviour strings directly back to the politics and fist fights in Risdon Prison’s hard yards. The mental grind of sixteen hours a day in cells and an occasional month in solitary. I’m an adept self-conversationalist.

All of that is boring to the average individual living an exciting life riding their train to work with iPhone earplugs every morning. With their book or their dream; or their religion or yoga practice. Those inane elbow crushing conversations where I have to endure the polite serendipity of having found myself at their mercy.

So when somebody says to me “Could you not tell me those stories; it’s not my life and I’m not interested in those things,” it strikes me as disingenuous. Conversation and stories aren’t about being entertained – they’re about unfolding relationships and developing an understanding. They’re components of culture.

What they’re really saying is “I don’t want to know you.” It’s a statement about personal effort. Not quality.

Something to consider in work and personal life is that the true art of being boring is to realise that your stories are as mundane or irrelevant as the next persons. In the context of the next person’s divergent interest and experiences. Unless they choose to make the effort and listen.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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