Last week Albuquerqueans responded en masse to a Mary McCormick interview on the Chelsea Lately show. The issue at hand? Whether McCormick dissed Albuquerque. She did, but then she later apologizedfor it on the radio, so I think most folks are cool with that.


I’m actually more interested in what Chelsea Handler had to say about Albuquerque. She called our fair city f*ck*ng bor-ing.


I've been thinking about this quite a bit since then.


(Confession: until Masshole’s post about this last week, I had never seen Chelsea Lately and the only awareness I had of Chelsea Handler was as an author - while browsing the Kindle best seller list, I had noticed the title "Are you there Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea" was a clever riff on the Judy Blume classic.)


The kind of work I do makes me a member of the "creative class" according to Richard Florida's criteria, but since I'm not part of the demographic that watches Chelsea Lately, I'm tragically unhip. That's ok. Someone's got to read the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America and the UCLA Law Review.


For the sake of argument, let us assume that most of the folks I interact with through my work are members of the creative class - predominantly NBIC science geeks, cultural commentators, writers or academics. Several are artists, but oddly enough, I know more artists in Albuquerque than anywhere else.


Since I work outside of Albuquerque in a city with far more marble than adobe, and since my work requires meeting a lot of different people from all over the country and we spend a fair amount of time conversing about stuff, in the course of a week I’ll have numerous conversations about life in Albuquerque.

These responses fall belong to two camps: fascination or abject horror.


1. Fascination. These are the people who fantasize about living in our city. Maybe they've visited once or twice, maybe they like the multiculturalism of our city, maybe they are outdoorsy and long to be in close proximity to the Sandia Mountains, or maybe they just suffer from SAD. In any case - these are the ones who say to me: "Albuquerque and DC?" You are so lucky!

2. Abject horror. The folks who respond to my living situation with the proverbial deer in the headlights look. They say things like, "Albuquerque? I'm so sorry. But at least you have a life in DC."


As my friends know, I've never been bored in my life! I've been blessed with a fertile imagination and a constantly nourished repository of knowledge that keeps me busy thinking all the time. So the idea that any place could be boring is hard to comprehend. It is as exotic a thought to me as a yearning for haggis.


For more than 15 years I’ve been walking the same stretch of bosque trail. Each time I walk it, there is something new to discover. I’ve yet to find this part of our city boring.


But perhaps boring refers to manmade artifacts, not nature. Maybe I'm just not using the word in the same way as Chelsea Handler. Or even the general public.


So I started thinking about different meanings of boring.


Is "boring" the inability to stay interested in something? Is it a feeling of being alienated from the world? Or perhaps the feeling of being forced to do something that you are not interested in doing? (Like watch your Uncle Gerald's slide show of the annual Elk's Convention). Maybe it is a lack of understanding – call it limited knowledge – of what is around you.


I’m no expert in human psychology, but based on my experience, I’d be willing to bet that people who do not get bored easily probably have a healthy amount of curiosity about the world. Not surprisingly, the experts agree.


Did you know that psychologists have developed a Boredom Proneness Scale? (And Albuquerque doesn't even appear in it once?)


And did you know that people who are prone to boredom are also more likely to deal with procrastination and narcissism? And there's even some evidence of a connection between social networks, boredom, and sex addiction?


And of course, those noble thinkers from my profession have had a few things to say about boredom, defined by Heidegger as a mood in which one becomes acutely aware of time.


It is even possible that our tendency to boredom might be driven by our genes, though perhaps more so for women than men, according to this study. Given this, we might want to lighten up on Chelsea.



I'm bored...


Whatever shall I do now?

Views: 1442

Comment by Barelas Babe on February 22, 2010 at 8:54pm
Apologies for the weird formatting and line breaks. Ning has upgraded its platform and we're still working out the bugs.
Comment by Krista on February 22, 2010 at 9:09pm
In my mean-spirited opinion--keep them out! Save our gorgeous city for those who actually appreciate it. :0)
Comment by Greg on February 22, 2010 at 9:52pm
I have lived in Albuquerque for 5 years. In my opinion, one cannot really appreciate New Mexico without living here. In comparison to living here, visiting doesn't compare.
Comment by NxDLamb on February 23, 2010 at 9:04am
Albuquerque boring? I think it really does depends on what type of person you are and what you consider exciting. Being born and raised here, 30+ years, I personally find it boring. Grew up in south valley, went to school downtown/ center of the city. Spent lots of time at my grandmothers home in Barelas. I've lived in every quadrant of the city, I have never been able to find something or area of town that suits me. From what i've noticed from a lot of transplants, is that they love the simplicity of living here. They love what ABQ has to offer as far as outdoor activity too, The Sandias, the Bosque and Tingley Beach, the numerous hikng trails, i mean the list goes on and on. But what if your a self proclaimed Big City Kid like myself? In which none of the above appeal to you? Do you just pick up and leave?
Comment by Scrymgeour on February 23, 2010 at 9:26am
I have always thought that being bored was a reflection of the person not the place. Our family always said there is no difference between being "bored" and being "boring". I think if you can't find something to do than you are not trying. (For the record have lived in some truly bland places, like very rural Nevada and North Dakota). My two cents...
Comment by Masshole in Fringecrest on February 23, 2010 at 9:46am
I can only assume you are joking, FitzerMan? Or using literally incorrectly, at the very least. If you are having trouble finding non-chains in which to dine, may I suggest this group?
Comment by cathyray on February 23, 2010 at 10:01am
Albuquerque is like the desert...... not for everybody. At first glance all you see is dirt, weeds, Wal-Mart & Applebees. You have to still yourself & become quiet then look again, a long, open gaze. Then you'll get it. Or not. But if you don't get it, get gone.
Comment by cc on February 23, 2010 at 10:03am
Great analysis of boredom by you, Barelas Babe and enjoyed reading everyone's comments here.

"For more than 15 years I’ve been walking the same stretch of bosque trail. Each time I walk it, there is something new to discover. I’ve yet to find this part of our city boring." I remember my first art teacher at UNM equating being an artist with being able to see something new each time you walk the same path, BB.
Comment by RiRiSynCyr on February 23, 2010 at 10:41am
Having spent the first 24 years of my life in the big city, I love Albuquerque more and more every day. I miss the sights and sounds and activities that come with living oceanside sometimes. Oh, and a I have a few special restaurants that I frequent on my annual visits back to see my family.

BUT, boring? Albuquerque? Maybe it's just my personality....but I am EXHAUSTED! I find that there are constantly things to do, so much so that I frequently feel like I missed out on something because there was something else I was doing. And those rare and precious weekends of actually being at home - are AMAZING!

my dad used to always say "people who are bored, are inherently boring people"
Comment by BurqueBinder on February 23, 2010 at 12:22pm
I'd say that the city of ABQ itself has plenty to do - not too small, not too large as to be stressful. But, once you add in the surrounding outdoors/cultural sights, the amount of stuff to do here becomes mind-boggling. This is about the last place I would consider boring, but to each there own I guess. I also like that it takes a certain type to appreciate it - a cool type:)


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