Thursday, July 12, 2012

Boredom may not be such a bad thing


By Dashiell Young-Saver
Sometimes, the most haunting cries for help can’t be heard.
These were the last four distress calls,made on Facebook, by recent Westlake High School graduate Teddy Handleman:
“I’m bored. Someone help.”
—June 24
“Meh. I’m bored.”
—June 30
—June 30
“Nothing to do in Thousand Oaks. Someone, please help.”
—July 2
By July 7, Teddy couldn’t take it anymore—he went on vacation.
Judging solely by my Facebook newsfeed, which I normally use to assess my friends’ farming skills, the largest—and worst— problem facing the teenage population of the Conejo Valley is boredom.

It’s a problem that many of us overprivileged suburban kids have encountered during our long summers and weekends. What can we do? How can we stay active and entertained?
One thing local teens can try: my own summer boredombusting strategy of getting a job. Working for the Acorn is great. I get paid, and it keeps me busy.
But, even with the job, I’m bored. It’s the reason I was looking through Teddy Handleman’s Facebook posts in the first place. There’s just too much time on my hands after I’m done working.
If a job won’t suffice, there are always the typical getaways like the beach, the beach, the beach and the beach. But that gives you as much variety as watching the tide come and go.
Conejo Valley teens just need to be creative. A little ingenuity can go a long way.
For example, teens can try counting the number of oak trees in Thousand Oaks. Are there really a thousand? Are there more? Are there less? (Could anyone care less?)
Maybe teens could try being restaurant rebels by ordering a 9-inch sandwich at Subway, getting a pizza “for here” at a Domino’s Pizza store or using a Del Taco restroom.
Teens could also try playing shuffleboard at the Goebel Senior Adult Center, shuffling a deck of cards without any clubs, joining a fly-fishing club, flying a kite, making up a rap on the fly, wrapping their dogs in bubble wrap, watching “Dog the Bounty Hunter” tackle a former football player, scoring a touchfriend down while playing flag football, doing the famed “Ickey Shuffle” touchdown dance after scoring, playing shuffleboard at the Goebel Senior Adult Center. . . . Wait, this is getting like watching the tide again.
Okay, fine. You win. It’s boring here. If you’re looking for something to do, the Conejo Valley isn’t always the greatest place to find that something.
But that may not be such a bad thing.
Before long, the teens of Thousand Oaks will be heading off to the world of college or work, saying goodbye to sweet boredom and relaxation until the age when they can truly enjoy playing shuffleboard at the Goebel Senior Adult Center.
It all reminds me of the day after graduation, when some friends and I went to IHOP because we were bored.
While we were eating, my
Asad Abdullah suddenly got up to do a toast about our futures: “We’ve worked hard, but from now on, it only gets harder. In college, we will be working like crazy all day and night. Enjoy the summer because it’s gonna stink afterwards. But take solace in the fact that . . .”
Everyone was bored with his speech at that point and turned back to their food. Even though I respect his guts for speaking, Asad gave a morbid and abysmal toast.
But I figure I’ll finish his thoughts now since I have nothing else to do:
Take solace in the fact that you’re bored because, down the road, you’re going to be overwhelmed, looking back in fond memory of a time in your life when nothing was everything, boredom was fascination and being was doing.
That’s my 650-word toast. I hope it didn’t bore you.
Dashiell Young-Saver recently graduated as a valedictorian from Westlake High School. He will attend Harvard University in the fall. His column, “A Dash of Youth,” will appear biweekly this summer in the Acorn.


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