Thursday, January 14, 2010




1 : a spell of listlessness or despondency
2 often capitalized : a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds
3 : a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump

i have to confess that i experience being in the state of DOLDRUMS (doldrumsness?) on a regular basis. it was much worse in my childhood, especially on saturday mornings when the weekend loomed in front of me—48 hours that i had to somehow fill with something.

this restlessness always made me think that i was a boring person. last summer i read a book by Lars Svendsen, A Philosophy of Boredom, that told me otherwise. Lars assured me that restlessness is a symptom of an existential crisis, experienced most often by those searching for a greater meaning. it amuses me that deciding, out of boredom, to clean my mother's entire bathroom using my brothers' shaving cream could have actually been a quest for deeper answers.

adulthood has not granted me immunity to this restlessness. why, i just experienced the DOLDRUMS this past tuesday! i had a full day off, so much free time to do whatever i wanted. i had plenty of things to fill the time, namely piles of schoolwork. but i still felt that plague of listlessness, the urge to continue looking at the clock thinking, are you serious? only seven minutes have passed? every action feels like a desperate attempt to pass the time. it's a special kind of impatience that is not present under regular circumstances. and there is no cure. i just wait until the day is over so i can go to sleep.

i'm seeing a theme here...winter DOLDRUMS, CANICULAR summer days...perhaps mirriam-webster is trying to comment on a culture of boredom. i hesitate to search for a pattern in a mostly random selection of words, even though i'm quite sure that it's some guy's job to pick these words and email them daily to vocabulary-challenged people like myself.

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