Being Boring

“Being Boring” is one of my all-time favorite songs by The Pet Shop Boys. Released in 1999, when I was in my early 30s, it actually left a huge mark on me. With a wonderfully homoerotic video clip, the melody and lyrics captured my attention in quite a profound way.

“We were never being bored
‘Cause we were never being boring”

Simple, eh? It’s the way I’ve tried to live my life ever since: to always keep my mind and soul actively looking for new interests and adventures.

And so when people have asked me if I was starting to feel bored after almost twelve weeks in hospital, I’ve been able to genuinely say “no”. For the first couple of weeks I was either unconscious or on serious pain relief, but in the weeks since I’ve been keeping myself busy.

By nature, I lean towards introversion – I’m quite happy with my own company – but I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have received visits from family, friends, and colleagues.

Earlier in my hospital stay, my ability to concentrate wavered. This was likely due to a combination of the powerful pain relief’s impact and the shock my system endured from the illness and surgery. Reading messages, crafting responses, and retaining information became arduous. With my phone and computer by my side, I’ve been able to return to a relatively normal life, keeping in touch with the “outside world”.

Alongside the books I have on my computer, friends have also brought me additional reading material. Among them, “100 Years Of Dirt” by Rick Morton captivated me the most. Despite our age difference, Rick’s story struck a chord with me. Hailing from a rural background, he, like me, grew up as the artistic and intellectually inclined outsider in his family. Like me, he was a classic “mummy’s boy” who pursued journalism, embraced his sexuality, and settled in the city. I loved his ability to contextualize family issues with statistics and research, which told a bigger story of contempoady rural/regional life.

While many have suggested series on platforms like Netflix and Stan, I’ve favoured “guilty pleasures. ” I’ve been revisiting vintage British sitcoms on YouTube. I’ve eagerly consumed every episode of “Are You Being Served?,” “Fawlty Towers,” “Yes Minister/Prime Minister,” and a substantial portion of “Dad’s Army” and “Man About The House.” I even briefly attempted “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” before concluding it hadn’t aged well. Despite their dated values, implausible plots, and sometimes lackluster humor, these 1970s comedies still gave me a laugh.

A couple of friends also gifted me with “projects” to occupy my time, including a book on origami and a paint-by-numbers set. Yes, paint by numbers. “I do them with my daughter,” my colleague and friend told me. While origami proved a bit difficult, I’ve found genuine enjoyment in paint by numbers. With a slow and steady approach, I dedicate a portion of each day to it, aiming to complete my masterpiece by the time I depart the hospital.

Part of the way through paint by numbers.

Oh, and I’ve been listening to a fair bit of audio, both radio and music. One surprise for me has been rediscovering the works of Janis Ian, with her beautiful tunes and thoughtful lyrics. Oh, and of course…

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