Thursday, April 18, 2013

Not Bored

Bored. “Tired of and possibly annoyed by a person or situation that is not interesting, exciting, or entertaining.”
Kids nowadays spout this word as if it were a mandatory teenage emotion. In our household, using the “b” word constitutes an instant ticket to the cleaning closet to grab a bucket, cleaner, brush & rag in order to scrub the kitchen floor or a bathroom. Their choice. (Yes, it’s been a long while since anyone other than moi has scrubbed either one. Effective deterrent. After all, if you are always nice to your kidlets, they will never grown up and go away!)
I think that my hubby is often bored, but doesn’t admit to it or possibly even recognize it much of the time.
When I am ready to watch a show, I am more than ready to ‘quiet’ my life and escape into a program. I hate commercials and rarely watch live TV. I typically will sit and eat my lunch in front of the DVR to watch my favorite show from the night before so I can fast forward through the ads. I am oblivious to my surroundings. Once finished, I am off to finish the rest of my ‘marathon’ style day.
Steve, however, will plop down in his recliner for hours on end, reaching for books, magazines & the TV remote. As he flips through channels and shows, both live and recorded, he is also “reading” a half dozen different things, even leaving the room for different reading material. He also listens to our conversations on the phone or another room , or asks about our activities around the house if we are home.
If I ask him about his show, he can’t really tell me much because he is not paying close enough attention to know what is happening. If I ask him about his reading, the same vague answer is offered. If I ask him if he is bored or wants companionship, he shrugs.
Which isn’t really an answer in my estimation.
This quote from an Apsie Gentleman really hit home for me:
"But at the same time we’re rejecting normal social relationships we also crave them. It’s like you’re locked outside, with your nose pressed against the window, watching the normal happy people inside the party, like a dog who’s been banished for peeing on the carpet. When I’m home for a weekend there’s no friends for me to call and go have a beer. There’s no circle that gets together for cookouts in the summer. No holiday parties to attend. Frankly, it’s damn lonely and it puts just that much more strain on the one real relationship that I maintain, my marriage."
I’m thinking that when Steve wants alone-time, he heads to his three-car shop where he can putter to his heart’s content. It’s over one hundred yards away from our house in the middle of our acreage. Surrounded by trees and underbrush, it serves as a much needed sanctuary for my Aspie hubby. He can spend entire days out there, appearing in the house for food occasionally. Yes, his single focus is cars; more specifically automotive engines.
I do know that our ‘to do’ list of household maintenance and repairs can be quite overwhelming for him. He has great difficulty in correcting assessing the required amount of time for various chores, prioritizing needs, and even recognizing the appropriate timing and weather to accomplish the needed tasks. (Starting to mow the lawn at dusk, or painting in a torrential downpour escape his understanding or reasoning capabilities.) If the Hubster was at a loss for an activity to fill his time, I can come up with dozens of suggestions for him.
He never asks me.
So, with all of this in mind, I think that I will try to be more sensitive to Steve’s apparent (to me) boredom, and his possible need for socializing or companionship. I too can sit in the same room as he and page through a magazine, do some mending or fold some laundry without direct conversation (which he can find tedious). I try to offer various activities for him to join without placing any sort of obligation on him to participate. Some days he wants to be with us, some days not.
I really try hard not to take his ‘alone time’ personally. After all, I also enjoy me-time, as do most of us. I just express it better.

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