13. Boredom

I have been living in the UAE for over 4 years now and in that time have met a rich array of people from every conceivable continent across the globe.  I’ve met architects, civil engineers, footballers, buyers, journalists, doctors, professional moaners, teachers, and company directors, travel operators, racing drivers, contractors, hoteliers and even a recycler.  But one type of person I have never encountered is someone who is immune to the occasional spot of boredom.

The other day I spoke to a dear friend of mine over the phone, still living in south-west London he is yet to make good on his promise of coming out here to get drunk with me.  Anyway our conversation came to head when he asked me how my weekend was, to which I retorted “dunno, I was bored”.  “Bored!?” he cried “bored?!” he said a second time for good measure.  “How can you be bored out there?  There’s skiing, and beaches.  Water parks, boats, desert…quite literally everything!”  He could plainly not understand how I found myself in a state of boredom.

I asked him in retaliation what he had done with his weekend, he responded with “dunno, I was bored.”  I then proceeded to strike back by saying

Bored eh? How about a beer at the pool? Nah, Jon Stewart's on in a minute

“but there’s the London dungeons, Buck house, Madame Tussauds, Thorpe Park, glorious foot-hills and some pretty smashing pubs.”  Silenced he began to understand.  It’s a classic case of ‘it’s for the tourists’.  When you’re in the daily grind you struggle to find your local cities attractions appealing.

When I still lived in England I never went up toLondonto see the sights.  I know what a red phone box looks like and more so I know what they’re really for…  What about the Tower of London?  I admire its historical value but can’t be bothered to go there.  It’s the same with the UAE.  I have seen the Burj Al Arab, the Burj Khalifa, Yas Marina, the funny place with all the people, so it stands to reason that there are going to be days where I won’t be doing anything.

Boredom is born out of frustration and usually occurs when you can’t think of anything to do or can’t afford to do anything else.  So what can we do on those days where the tourist attractions won’t cut the mustard?  Well, what did you do back home that you cant do out here too?  We can read books.  We can watch hour upon hour of TV.  We can pop along to the pool for a mere pittance.  We can sit at a bar and gently spiral into alcoholism.  But, then again maybe you can’t go to the pub with your friends because they’re all at home without you.  You can’t go to the pool because it’s too hot.  You can’t watch TV because you watched it yesterday and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is still no funnier, and you finished your book 6 months ago…

I’m tailing off the optimistic trail I had intended here.  But look, you’re as guaranteed to get bored out here at times as much as you’re guaranteed to sneeze when you have a cold.  But wasn’t it the same back home sometimes?  The only difference is that it’s easy to blame the UAE for it, when really it’s done nothing wrong.

My emancipation?  That one day my mate will get his arse in gear and book a flight over and save me from Jon Stewart.

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