I realized a while ago that the one quality I won’t tolerate in a friend or acquaintance is being boring. I’ll put up with selfishness, laziness, pettiness, childishness, trace amounts of cruelty, and even a generous dash of pure evil, but I bolt at the first sign of boring.
One of the reasons that boring isn’t tolerated in my life is that it’s so immediately spotted, thus allowing me to duck out before things get bad. Boring isn’t insidious like the other qualities above. You can have a lovely friend whom, after several months or even years, you finally figure out is staggeringly jealous of your success and undermines you via subtle put-downs “to be realistic,” or a friend whom you realize probably says the same sort of acrid observations about you when you’re not around as they do about everybody else. These qualities come in slowly, and reveal themselves after a long time, if ever. The meaty stink of boring, however, hits you immediately, leaving you free to run, or, failing that, swiftly end your life. I’ve come to hate boring people so much that the people I avoid the most are, in my internal catalogue in which I obsess over people I don’t like, named:
1) Boring Guy. This is the name afforded to Ben’s and my current arch-rival, who finds it socially acceptable to approach us in public and be lavishly boring. He’s also an insincere, condescending dickhead, but that might actually be kind of great if he were funny.
2) Boring [Name]: The “boring” modifier was afforded to this individual to differentiate them from someone bearing the same first name as that boring chode I run into now and again when I decide to be drunk enough to risk being in public.
3) Boring Security Guard: I might loathe him the most, since he talks to me a lot at work, or he did until he saw me with Ben one afternoon. Now he just waddles near me and gives me a vacant smile sometimes, and even the way he walks seems to suck the spark out of my brain. If someone is boring at you while you’re being paid to stay in a certain place, there are no polite excuses available to you. Your life is ruined forever.
4) Boring Lady: Boring Lady also has truly remarkable body odor, thus proving that life is but a linear glance at a tableau of suffering and despair.
5) Oh Christ, not [Name]: When “how are you?” and “fine” stretch into a 45-minute conversation with no other words, I am amusing myself by wondering what death feels like. This person’s conversation is the auditory equivalent of gruel.
I consider these people my mortal enemies, despite the fact that each of them is actually quite nice, and kind, and good. I just can’t stand them and I want them to die, that’s all.
I realized that the reason I couldn’t stand a lot of my ex-boyfriend’s acquaintances was that he could tolerate any sort of flaw so long as someone was “nice.” A lot of the would-be corpses he worked with at the parking garage were like poison to me, but he could talk to anybody. Now, I kind of hate people who can only be described as “nice,” but that’s another topic altogether. Unfortunately, he had unlimited reserves of patience for boring people, and could find something funny in someone’s anti-anecdote about how their grandson just loves carrots but he never could stand the stuff himself, and his surname was Bland, but it was really a shortening from when some white people came over from Whitedonia, and they had previously been called the Blandens, which was shortened further from their roots back in Whitistan where it had been Blandendeath. Urchins like this would talk to him and he would at least appear genuinely interested, and would always seem startled when I noted that my insides were rolling with hatred and escapism, and that the only way to deal with this person was to will my brain to begin naturally producing psilocybin so I could trip balls and be miles away. Failing that, cellular death seemed an attractive vacation spot.
I, on the other hand, have a difficult time wasting words on people who spew beige at me in return, and I suppose that’s what categorizes me as an introvert. I want to be social only when I can amuse, or try to at least (though I’m beginning to realize that my verbal slideshow of misery and death and pornography and the holocaust is significantly less funny to people who aren’t me), and then go home when I’m boring. I’m boring a lot. I’m boring when I drink my coffee in the morning, which is why I’m typically silent through it. I’m boring when I get home from the grocery store, and all I can do is cry because I had to talk to people and nobody said anything funny and that’s intolerable. I don’t want to be boring at people. I want to live my moral code and adhere to strict hermeticism unless I’ve got something new to say.
Boring comes from an odd mixture of stupidity, lack of awareness, and humorlessness that becomes the most toxic substance known to mankind. Boring can envelop and smother anything near it. It binds with almost everything. There is no known cure, only prevention and quarantine.
Boring makes everything it touches boring, and after that it becomes self-perpetuating and exponential. Two boring things near one another become more boring, but interesting things nearby become boring, too, if they directly interact for too long. Have you ever used any of your A material on a boring person? Isn’t it awful, feeling your vitality slip away as you stare at that person, willing them to actively participate in the conversation? Those flat eyes, that soulless titter, that inability to leap lightly off your bon mots like a verbal Nijinsky, that tendency to bear down on one tattered path of conversation as old as time? Have you ever noticed yourself slipping into boringland, where everything is beige and sunbeam bread? It must be like those final months where you retain somewhat of a sense of self before succumbing completely to dementia. You feel the loss, but grope at nothingness. God damn you, boring person, you’re killing us all. God help you if you say something not only interesting, but funny, at a boring person. They look at you like they’ve never heard of a joke before, with this polite interest and bewildered, hesitant acceptance. Is this okay? their dull eyes ask. Just keep doing it and I’ll just watch. No, that’s okay. You go on ahead. I’ll hold your purse for you while you go be a person.
Usually they don’t shut the joke down entirely, which can be kind of fun because then you get to push back, they just blandly accept it and wait for the next amusement.
Suddenly, I go from saying, “So at the far end of the dance floor, this stripper’s pulling her legs apart and staring up with soulless eyes, and these two dudes with these bright faces and button-up shirts...they’re there, and one is staring down the barrel of this lady’s vagina and the other one is gazing up at him in brotherly rapture, all Adam’s apple and dreams and hope, and both of them have these downright homespun expressions of charm and delight, and I was like….this is the weirdest Norman Rockwell painting I’ve ever seen.”
Which, if you don’t find that funny, fuck you. So I go from saying that to saying, after the boring person’s stiff laughter:
“Yeah, it sure was weird, all right.”
“Yeah, I never went back.”
“No, I guess it is kind of sad when you think about it.”
“I mean, I never --”
and all is lost. Thanks, you boring fuck. You killed the funny.
If you kill a joke, you’re a murderer.
Boring people don’t get the joke. Usually, when someone gets the joke, they’re my friend for life. When someone doesn’t get the joke, they become the joke. Sometimes, that is a source of endless delight, like the guy at the bus stop who fellates hot sauce bottles while talking to strangers. Unfortunately, when boring people become the joke, it’s not funny anymore.