‘I’m bored’ sang Iggy Pop. Obviously so bored that he thought it was a good idea to sell his soul (and car insurance). But deep down, aren’t most of us? It’s part and parcel of the human condition. Boredom comes easy to us. Is it because we are now at the top of the food chain? Without having to fight tooth and nail for survival we have become complacent as a species. We have eradicated diseases, developed antidotes for this and protection against that. I genuinely believe that for most of us life holds few surprises. My kids are constantly complaining that they are bored, despite having a mountain of toys, games, books and entertainment devices at their fingertips. But then again most of the adults I know complain about boredom too. Familiarity breeds contempt, that’s why people move jobs; it’s a subliminal attempt to clip clop over the bridge to the greener pastures (avoiding the troll on the way). I know very few people who are genuinely happy all the time (and as I have said before excessive happiness usually sets alarm bells ringing) and happy in their work. While I love photography I am pretty sure that if I did it professionally it would lose its sheen after a while – I have witnessed first hand the pressure that pro photographers, particularly wedding photographers, are under and I’m pretty sure it would drive me nuts.
I work to live and not the other way round. Although I will admit in my 20s and early 30s to a certain amount of ambition. I am now mellower. I enjoy my work, as much as you can enjoy work, but for me the most important thing is spending time doing things that are important, such as playing with the kids, spending time with friends and, yes, photography. Photography is a release for me; I think nothing of standing in freezing weather for hours trying to get a good shot. How mental is that? And yet, because it is a hobby and because I am doing it in my own time I get a lot of value out of it. A lot of thinking time. I think its the same as those guys you see fishing in muddy canals. Its not about the fish, its about snatching a few moments of quiet reflection and actually NOT being bored but getting to know yourself.
My wife has far too little time to herself. Although she works full time she still has to wrangle children and me. I don’t consider myself a dinosaur. I do actually do stuff around the house (honest, I do) but I know she finds it difficult. In an ideal world she would love to work part time and do something creative but at the moment we are mortgaged up to the hilt. This is not a whinge. In today’s climate I feel lucky to live in my own home and actually have that foot on the property ladder as they call it.
And then, there’s today’s photo. It’s an old one. Taken on a trip to Chester Zoo last year. I am ambivalent about zoos. Living where I do there has always been one of Europe’s largest on the door step. I appreciate the work done in conserving species, species that are on the point of extinction in their natural habitats. I get it, I understand it. But then I look at that face and I see the utter boredom. I may well be anthromophasisng here (see meerkat post) but given the genetic closeness of us to the great apes I think I can spot boredom when I see it. Yet this is a boredom that can’t be escaped. So maybe we should count ourselves lucky after all? Bored? Not me. I have fulfilled my blogging obligations, opened a bottle of wine and ordered some takeaway. Kids are abed (parents evening tonight and two glowing reports) and time to unwind. See you tomorrow