Recently, while visiting Poland, I stayed in the home of a dear friend and his 10-year-old daughter. He’s a single dad, and a really good one. All of our rooms were very close to one another on the upper level above the main floor. Each room had nice size windows and views of the surrounding forest.
One morning as I was leaving my room to go downstairs I noticed Anna sitting in the window of her bedroom staring out into space. About 20 minutes later I returned up the steps to do some reading in my room. Anna was still sitting in the same spot staring out of the window.
I thought it my duty to break the desperate monotony of her unfortunate circumstance; after all, I’ve reared three children and I’ve seen this situation before. I called out to her, “are you bored Anna?”
She left the seating of her window and came to greet me in the hallway. Her English is limited so she speaks with a slight Polish accent. She asked, “what is this bored you say, please explain to me?”
I began my explanation by telling her that, in America, children are often heard to say the words, “I’m bored,” and that boredom is when you don’t have anything to do.
I watched as her head tilted sideways with a curious peering in her eyes; she spoke, “but there is “always” something to do.”
I could see that she was not grasping the concept of boredom so I attempted to rephrase my explanation in a way that I thought would be more accessible to her young, impressionable, mind.
“You see,” I said, “being bored is when there may be things to do but they are not interesting to you.”
I watched the grooves of her forehead grow deeper as she inquired, “but then you find a thing interesting for you… do you not?”
“Yes you are right,” I chimed in, “you could, but maybe you don’t know something interesting at that moment.”
“If I do not know interesting I ask my father and he find me a thing interesting to do,” she responded.
“Yes that could be an option but…”
“I don’t think I understand this word… bored,” she interrupted, rather flustered.
Finding myself floundering in my attempts to explain the theory of boredom, I simply gave up and admitted that I really didn’t understand it either. I asked Anna if I could join her in her window to see what she saw. Being the gracious host that she is, Anna was more than pleased to share her window. The view was serene, stunningly scenic. We both simply drifted away from ever having had the the confusing conversation about "being bored."
A ridiculous concept when you think about, isn't it?
Dooni, dooni kononi be nyaga da.