Every great adventure is prefaced by boredom. If it weren’t, of course, you wouldn’t need the adventure. The purists out there like to say it’s not boredom exactly (when you live a full and fulfilled lifestyle every second is an adventure!), and justify it by calling it “restlessness.” Maybe that’s right. I’m generally a content person, but I do know this: when the wind starts blowing, my feet start itching.

This effect is compounded when there’s a specific date and time. Let’s pick next Thursday, say, as a completely hypothetical example. At 10:15 in the morning, let us say, from Dulles International Airport. Let us suppose also that it is now May 8, at around eleven at night. First, we try to bring the event closer (maybe I should leave for the airport at six, even though it’s only a half hour drive away … security might be tight, after all, and then there’s traffic …), which only can go so far.

So we try to make the time spent seem more manageable, to feel like we’ve achieved something at each marker. By setting one’s goal at halfway there, and then halfway again, etc., so that the distance of the goal gets exponentially closer with each victory of patience. But then, hypothetically, we still have to wait exactly two days, seventeen hours, thirty-seven minutes, and thirty seconds. A long time. Hmmmm.

We next turn to mindless occupation, the conduction of that ancient exercise of mankind’s, “taking one’s mind off it.” Work is great for this, of course, assuming you’re doing something somewhat engaging. And it had better be, because the moment your attention wavers, you start wondering about what sort of snacks they’ll be serving on your flight, and how exactly to get from the airport at your destination to wherever you’ll be spending the night (except that in our hypothetical situation we’ll be landing in Dubl–our destination at 5:20 in the morning, GMT).

But now we approach the weekend, which is a much larger obstacle. Fortunately for us, there are a number of blockbuster movies available in theaters at the moment. Unfortunately for us, the extent of the damage this trip will be doing to our budget is beginning to sink in, and we are quickly becoming misers. So instead we sit at home, perhaps trying to read a book. That of course takes more attention than we have at the moment, so we substitute mindless visual entertainment, one of our country’s chief exports.

After yet another hilarious episode of some show about … something, we look at the clock again, and for the first time ever regret that internet-streamed television broadcasts don’t have more commercials.

So we write a blog post. As we finish up and get ready to publish, we look up at the clock. Eleven ten.

Next time, we think, we’re going to have to type slower.

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  • Becca C.

    That is the beauty of hulu!!! Perfect passing of time for the penniless!

  • Cate

    “Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” – Freya Stark