I know, I know. The last thing we need is another article attacking the technology that has so greatly helped us get to where we are today. But I’M BORED. I used to say this to my mom when I was five. Now I say it nearly every day; sometimes I mean it, sometimes I don’t. Either way I feel like it needs to be said, even if it’s just to fill a silent gap in conversation. Because nothing can STOP. My brain can’t handle stagnation anymore.
About a month ago, I adopted a pet. He’s a leopard gecko who I’ve named Kazooie, and he’s a cutie-pie. Look, just see:
But I didn’t just adopt him because he’s as cute as a button. Nope, I adopted him because — guess what?— I was bored. I had just started a new summer job a month ago and had barely any time off, but the time I did have off I spent somehow convincing myself that I needed more excitement in my life. So, low and behold…
When people began asking me why I got a gecko, my answer every time was: I got bored. I was bored. I don’t know, my life was boring. This seemed to surprise other people, so much so that I got a few responses back that varied from, “Are you sure you’re going to be able to take care of him?” and “Maybe you should take a chill pill.” But the most interesting replies I received, and perhaps the most frequent out of all of them, was that the Internet was making constant, mental stimulation a must for my generation.
I know what you’re thinking, but: people all ages made this claim. Really? The Internet is making me bored? That’s not possible; if anything it’s doing the opposite. How can I ever be bored with Netflix and YouTube available to me nearly everywhere I go? Log onto Facebook nowadays and your friends share a seemingly infinite amount of videos and articles (shoutout if that’s how you found this one!). The world can no longer do with just status updates anymore. No, we need more.
I started retracing my boredom steps, so to speak, and the results were a bit surprising. A few months ago, I cut off my hair and dyed it purple (and for whatever reason only took one, yes one, selfie. I blame midterm season). In fall term, I took a class specifically because it called for at least three presentations (what was I thinking?! I would ask myself this every time I had a presentation). Then I committed myself to two jobs while taking a full course load, and even though it was stressful, it never felt like enough.
Even my Netflix account has suffered, with my “Recently Watched” list containing exclusively half-hour television sitcoms and anime. Seriously, these are a blessing to any person with a short attention span. After you discount the commercial breaks and the seriously long intro credits, a plot line of only fifteen minutes usually awaits. A FIFTEEN MINUTE PLOT LINE?!! MY BRAIN LIVES FOR THIS STUFF. And I don’t even have to step into Vine territory for you to realize that, hey, people may have a point here.
Kazooie is living, breathing proof that the Internet is making me bored. My brain is on a dangerous addiction cycle that I’m too nervous to get off of. Not convinced yet? I even got Kazooie’s name from an N64 video game called Banjo-Kazooie — even more verification that I’m apart of a generation that revels in perhaps the most prime example of interactivity and immersion. Only two weeks after Kazooie entered my life, I thought, “This isn’t enough. He needs “an edge” — something to set him apart. He needs…an Instagram!” Yep, you heard right. I’m one of those people that have an Instagram account for my pet (shameless plug: follow me @kazooie_the_leo).
Maybe we’ve taken advantage of what we have — or maybe we’re simply given too much. There’s too many shows to choose from on Netflix, so we spend an hour trying to decide what’s going to keep us occupied for another. There’s too many links being shared on Facebook it’s hard to keep track of, so we save them for later (although later never comes). It’s sensory overload at its finest — they’re keeping us busy, even when we’re not supposed to be. And as a result, our brains can’t sit still. They’re the petulant child grabbing your leg. They’re the dog whining in front of your bedroom door. They want in. They want attention. And they’re not going to stop until you give them what they want.
This is starting to sound like a bit like a trailer for the next big horror movie, so I’ll stop with the dramatics. But seriously, next time you’re at a party with music thumping every which way around you, a never-ending sea of people, and a drink in your hand, ask yourself why you’ve pulled out your phone. Are you lonely? Or are you just…bored?
Rachel is always up for a good adventure, as long as it doesn’t involve spiders. When not snuggled in a corner connected to headphones and attached to a good book, she’s spending her last year at the U of A tracking down as many quirky people and events as this campus can offer. She would willingly and gladly roll down more hills — and believes this is a valid pastime — if not for her allergy to grass.