What Are You Doing?

Twice in half an hour I have had to ask myself, what are you doing? I have asked it out loud because it seemed important enough to answer. Both times I have been staring at the laptop on which I've opened a new tab looking to distract myself with...anything. What are you doing? Each time I have stepped away from the computer and done something more useful, but I'm still wondering about my answer to that question.

An old Genesis song begins with Peter Gabriel crooning, "looking for someone". I stare into the computer looking for something. Looking for distraction to take me away. This is why I had to quit Facebook and why I use Twitter only for writerly stuff. I kept looking at social media, news, and YouTube to relieve me of thinking, to deliver me from boredom, a thing which I realize scares me.

Why is boredom frightening? Does it frighten other people? Maybe that's why we stare at our phones in line at Wegmans. Don't tell me all those people are reading books.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about doing nothing and yet I don't let myself do nothing. It doesn't count to stare at nothing on the screen waiting for good news, watching YouTube to pass the time, or anything else that tries to dodge boredom. I'm talking about sitting still, doing nothing. Haven't done it. I haven't been able to stand it.

Even now, I'm too interested in writing this to stop. I looked out the window for thirty seconds but had to get back.

There are worse things, but here's what concerns me: my fear of boredom is an indication of dissatisfaction mostly with myself. I'm afraid to be truly alone with myself and know what the truth of that. Hmmm. Heady stuff. I would think about it, but I'm too busy worrying what you're thinking of me as you read that.


Twice in half an hour I've gone to the computer for distraction. Then I came to the computer to write this. Those things all being done, I have ten minutes to stop, resist the desire to revise this or just open another tab. I have the chance to be bored and ask myself what are you doing? just to hear what the next answer might be.