Boredby Margaret Atwood, 1994
All those times I was bored  out of my mind. Holding the log  while he sawed it. Holding  the string while he measured, boards,  distances between things, or pounded  stakes into the ground for rows and rows  of lettuces and beets, which I then (bored)  weeded. Or sat in the back  of the car, or sat still in boats,  sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheel  he drove, steered, paddled. It  wasn’t even boredom, it was looking,  looking hard and up close at the small  details. Myopia. The worn gunwales,  the intricate twill of the seat  cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular  pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans  of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying  bristles on the back of his neck.  Sometimes he would whistle, sometimes  I would. The boring rhythm of doing  things over and over, carrying  the wood, drying  the dishes. Such minutiae. It’s what  the animals spend most of their time at,  ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels,  shuffling the leaves in their burrows. He pointed  such things out, and I would look  at the whorled texture of his square finger, earth under  the nail. Why do I remember it as sunnier  all the time then, although it more often  rained, and more birdsong?  I could hardly wait to get  the hell out of there to  anywhere else. Perhaps though  boredom is happier. It is for dogs or  groundhogs. Now I wouldn’t be bored.  Now I would know too much.  Now I would know.
(photo by Sheldon Grimson)

Bored
by Margaret Atwood, 1994

All those times I was bored
out of my mind. Holding the log
while he sawed it. Holding
the string while he measured, boards,
distances between things, or pounded
stakes into the ground for rows and rows
of lettuces and beets, which I then (bored)
weeded. Or sat in the back
of the car, or sat still in boats,
sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheel
he drove, steered, paddled. It
wasn’t even boredom, it was looking,
looking hard and up close at the small
details. Myopia. The worn gunwales,
the intricate twill of the seat
cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular
pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans
of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying
bristles on the back of his neck.
Sometimes he would whistle, sometimes
I would. The boring rhythm of doing
things over and over, carrying
the wood, drying
the dishes. Such minutiae. It’s what
the animals spend most of their time at,
ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels,
shuffling the leaves in their burrows. He pointed
such things out, and I would look
at the whorled texture of his square finger, earth under
the nail. Why do I remember it as sunnier
all the time then, although it more often
rained, and more birdsong?
I could hardly wait to get
the hell out of there to
anywhere else. Perhaps though
boredom is happier. It is for dogs or
groundhogs. Now I wouldn’t be bored.
Now I would know too much.
Now I would know.

(photo by Sheldon Grimson)