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As it Turns out, Normal People *are* Boring

ETA: Please note the following before replying: the numerous question marks, indicating uncertainty and introspection; the part about not calling people mundanes; the part where I specifically acknowledge that I am not the arbiter of what is interesting. Thank you.

I just signed into a public PC, and the previous user must have been pretty lax about personal security, because he had taken no measures to sign out of gmail. Of course, I hastily signed him out (and, no, I did not violate his privacy further by clicking on any messages) but not before happening to see something like 80 subject lines, as well as the two or three labels he had for categorizing his mail.

Holy crap, normal people are boring. I really do try to give them the benefit of the doubt. I try never to use the word mundane as a noun anymore, and when I talk to them at work, I try to imagine that the topics they bring up are only that dull because they keep the good stuff to themselves (as I usually do). But... they don't make it easy to defend them. All they seem to care about is sports. Maybe shopping or cars. It's kind of depressing. At least to me.

I wonder if folks who live entirely within the norm don't worry much about privacy because there is nothing in their personal lives anyone could take issue with? It that a blessing for them, maybe?

I will continue to try to assume that, if I were an unethical sort of person who was willing to delve into that fellow's messages, I would have discovered that he really was a fascinating individual. I suppose I am not the arbiter of what is innately interesting. But, really. Jebus.

Comments

( 55 comments — Leave a comment )
vicar
Jun. 27th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
Sports and ill-researched political opinions, but what is interesting? If you take out the interesting different music or shock value of promiscuous sex, I can't really cite "freaks" as being all that interesting. They say sports, freaks say OMG BSG yay! What is the super interesting stuff we do?

Meh - normal life is generally boring. Most of what you deal with every day is boring - work, pay the bills, wash clothes...how much time out of the average week do you spend in exciting activity? What activity is inherently exciting vs. simply bestowed that label out of shock value of novelty?
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
See, I knew you were going to post something precisely like this.
(no subject) - vicar - Jun. 27th, 2008 12:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ashbet - Jun. 27th, 2008 01:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - redsteve - Jun. 27th, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Jun. 27th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
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kitteblue
Jun. 27th, 2008 12:55 pm (UTC)
I'm sure they're happy
It's just that "they" have differant intrests than "us". They probably think our hobbies are just cries for attention. We find them boring, they find us weird. same old same old.
railwaymadness
Jun. 27th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
Well now I'm curious -- what interesting subject lines are hanging around your inbox?

I seem to mostly have things like "vines", "ladders", "pictures of our house", "visit to MSP". I guess "rodeo vs. circus", "elephant artist" and "escape to wva" sound alright.

There's some basic element of how comfortable you are with ambiguity that plays a part in determining how interesting you are (this opinion may make me an elitist and I am fine with that). To stick with the vicar's sports=BSG comparison: In sports, one side very clearly wins and the other very clearly loses -- even if the clarity has to be supplied by an umpire, it will be supplied. In BSG, it is rarely so simple, which is why it's interesting.
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
Vines, rodeo vs. circus, elephant artist. You make my point. You are interesting! Also, "rarely so simple" = awesome!
(no subject) - redsteve - Jun. 27th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
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corwynj
Jun. 27th, 2008 01:29 pm (UTC)
Well, things I like are the things I am currently involved in. That list is fairly long. I alway felt like a boring person, really I do. I just happen to channel my bi-polar disorder to creative ends. I learn how to do anything I need to do at the time. I currently have a house that I have, with the help of my George, renovated 40% (with no loan 50.00-200.00 per paycheck) over the past 4 years. I have a garden that is flourishing, change the oil on my car (have used Jiffy Lube lately cause of time constaints). I have built and using three computers (not all at the same time) in my house. I am starting to paint again slowly. I love to travel and love history. I am still not as verse in politics as most of my friends. Any whoo, shiny object....
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
Dude, you are in the running with about 6 other people for the title of Most Interesting Person I Know. And the field is pretty rich, saints be praised!
kitteblue
Jun. 27th, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
You know, just this conversation is more interesting than ones I have with most of my co workers.
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
heh. You are very kind to say so. Also? You are very interesting!
peregrin8
Jun. 27th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC)
my email inbox is all music, sex, Imperiled Arctic Wildlife, and 75 "Reply to comment" subject lines.
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
Interesting!
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Jun. 27th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Jun. 27th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
pastor_saturn
Jun. 27th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
As kitteblue says, it's just a matter of different interests. There's even some overlap sometimes, with a sport or a hobby or even a TV show. I doubt the "theys" of this world feel cheated because they don't know enough about heraldry or coding or any of the other abstruse subjects the "we's" chat lightly about over breakfast. They might not even know the word "abstruse." And that's cool.

I don't feel sorry for them because it's not like they can't find out about this stuff. They're complacent, and in a way so am I. I feel endlessly spoiled that I found a group of like-minded folks to hang out with. We do have some astonishingly diverse interests, and if you're a dilettante like me it's wonderful to be able to learn a bit from a pal about a topic, then flit off and learn about other things from someone else.

Interesting to think about, isn't it? :)
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on the feeling spoiled. I have the coolest friends imaginable, and on that I will brook not dissent. NONE! Do you hear me!

Ahem. Sorry :)

But yeah. See my comment to Nikki below. I'm not really the freak-chauvinist I seem to have made myself out to be.
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lionsden
Jun. 27th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
sports
I'm trying really hard to think of what might be creative, challenging, or imaginative about watching someone else you don't know play a sport. Nope...not having any luck. I guess I do understand, to some degree, how people get caught up in sports (my family used to watch Redskins games semi-religiously), but I don't understand how that can be all that interests a person.

Looking at redsteve's list, maybe part of what makes our subjects different is we actually like to be (at least to some degree) actively involved and not just in the audience...hmm...its a theory.
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
Re: sports
Excellent point. It is in large part the active involvement in a variety activities that I'm talkin' about.
Re: sports - redsteve - Jun. 27th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
jgcr
Jun. 27th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC)
I would guess that this guy is really a spook, and all of those "boring" emails are really coded messages to the rest of his cell, planning the Final Doom of us all.
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
oh, man. that's got to be it!
sparkymonster
Jun. 27th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
I work in a library with students and holy shit do they leave themselves logged into gmail and other e-mail programs. It makes me crazy. I walk around the computer lab and log them out while muttering "these damn kids"
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
Totally! Same thing for me, in our training rooms.
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smoakes777
Jun. 27th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
A few (well, more than a few, now) years ago I ended some abusive friendships, which led to me hanging out with mostly "normal" people. At first I was freaked out, largely because I'd always thought normal=boring. But eventually I started to notice that they seemed to laugh and think and have interesting conversations as much as my freaky friends did.
Some of my new friends were hard-core skeptics and science fans, and we'd talk late into the night about what constituted evidence, and how to destigmatize hallucination.
This being LA, a lot of my friends were comedians and/or comedy writers, and being with them meant laughing constantly.
Some were history buffs, or porn stars (but, trust me, normal) or magicians.
Most of them were readers, and all of them had subjects they were fascinated with that they would light up inside while discussing.
Some of them were into sports, and I'm pretty open about not only not liking sports but not understanding people who do--but that doesn't mean I dislike them, it just means I don't have many conversations about sports with them. A lot of my other friends don't like sports either. There's always something else to talk about.

These days, a good number of my friends are in theatre, and a lot of them are not "normal," but just as many of them are. They're still fun, interesting people. One of my best friends now is a gay theatre critic who I can't imagine being bored around. We laugh and sing showtunes and exchange bon mots and do puppet theatre with a lollipop shaped like Marie Antionette. Another has six greyhounds and so little in common with me I sometimes stop and feel amazed that we have never--ever--run out of stuff to talk about, not for a second. We've gone on long road trips where we don't so much as turn on the radio, we find each other so fascinating. And of course I am about to marry a guy who is in many ways what we'd call normal, and he's the least boring man in the world.

And, of course, some of the normal people I know are deeply, horribly, depressingly boring. But I have known some truly boring freaks, as well.
rednikki
Jun. 27th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
I have to agree with smoakes777 here. It might be because I've now lived in many different cities, but I've been around "freaks" who were please-poke-my-eyes-out-with-knitting-needles boring (sort of what vicar describes: "We're COOL and INTERESTING because we talk about sex ALL THE TIME! Look how ALTERNATIVE we are, because we spent $800 at the local fetish store!"), and "normal" people who turn out to be fascinating.

Heck, in LA the most "normal" person I met turned out to be a Keeper-using pagan psychic stoner. But I assure you, if you met her, you'd write her off as a Martha Stewart-type pretty fast.

Some people are boring. Other people are like artichokes - tough on the outside, but with a tasty soft center that's great dipped in butter.
(no subject) - fenriss - Jun. 27th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smoakes777 - Jun. 27th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
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akrissy
Jun. 27th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
I watched my father struggle for an hour to have a conversation with my brother-in-law (office military type). Padre (my dad) is a well read, open minded, spiritual person, and dedicated golfer-with-a view who has grown into these things from a farmer, redneck, dirt-bike-racing, enlisted guy. After the hour, Padre settled on a discussion about Football. I thanked Padre for his patience and persistence to try to find a connection to a distant branch of his 'family'. *sigh*
fenriss
Jun. 27th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC)
Ah, bless your Dad. Salt of the earth, that kind of guy. I've known a surprising number of those ex-enlisted guys who have just such an tremendous reserve of wisdom and far-sightedness.
redsteve
Jun. 27th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
"Look at 'em, ordinary fucking people, I hate 'em." (Repo Man)
ninjacooter
Jun. 27th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)
Because I'm a Santera, there's a large important part of my life that I can't really discuss with the 'unwashed masses' without squicking them. I've been to Colombia and Cuba, but not really much of anywhere else. My interests seem to be fairly limited of late - fighting and Santeria/Palo/Espiritismo/Vodou. I'm branching out a little, but that's where my head's at in the current moment. Might be a little boring, might not. :)
fenriss
Jun. 28th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
Goodness gracious, honey! If there's one thing this thread has taught me, it's that my friends have no idea what "boring" means! I'll give you a hint: it is not you or your interests. Srsly!
( 55 comments — Leave a comment )