January 2014: Thoughts On Boredom

Ottawa, Alexandra bridge, Quebec border, Canada, Boredom

18_Boredom (3 of 1)

18_Boredom (2 of 1)

I’m sitting at my desk, at an apartment that I’ve rented with Matt on a very short-term basis. I’m two months into a five month stint in Ottawa. True to form, we’ve decided to tuck ourselves away in a less pricey, less popular (and therefore, infinitely more “cool”… or so I believe) neighbourhood on the Quebec side of the Alexandra Bridge. Oui, nous sommes tellement francais maintenant.

It’s snowing, and so I took a walk. It’s cold again outside. Not anything unbearable, but a reminder that it’s still winter. I have many apprehensions about living in Ottawa, but there’s something about walking across the Alexandra Bridge toward Ottawa when it’s snowing. Ottawa has a particular kind of beauty not often witnessed elsewhere in Canada. Parliament Hill and the adjacent market have attempted to hold on to their early-1900s aesthetic. It doesn’t always feel authentic (in the way that many “tourist” facing areas tend to want for an organic expression of time and place…) but it feels satisfying and appropriate, especially juxtaposed to the very modern US Embassy that looms nearby. I find the whole thing charming. It gives a distinctly nationalistic impression. Very Canadian, in a way to which I really don’t relate. Post-cardesque.

I walk this route almost daily. I’ve been wandering for two months now. In the depths of cold, and then, in a reinvigorating “hot spell” (8 degrees celsius!), I wandered. Though I have doubts about whether this city is a good fit for me, I am a sucker for looks.

Often, I’ve been bored. For weeks at a time I’ve been greatly, heart-achingly, unbelievably bored. Wandering listlessly along the same routes–literally following footsteps I had laid in the snow the day before and the day before that. But this boredom has been punctuated by some really great plot-mapping and deep interest in the nuanced time period that I happen to be researching. And so, I guess I owe some credit to this boredom.

We never know where we’ll find ourselves. I was hoping to find myself on an epic hike, on the summit of a mountain. Or, better yet, on a pilgrimage to Mysore, India where I had originally planned to spend January 2014. Instead, here I am. Finding myself in the soft falling snow in a city where I’m a stranger to everyone.

2 thoughts on “January 2014: Thoughts On Boredom

  1. Kat, I am so often bored as I am waiting for the next thing to happen. For me it’s more of a seasonal thing as in the summer I wish for winter boredom. Anyway, as much as I get tired of the boredom I find that in the back of my mind so many ideas, plans and thoughts are steeping. I am realising this more and more as suddenly, I come up with a really great idea or solution… then I’m thinking back… oh ya, I planted that seed in my brain months ago. You’re right that there is credit owed to boredom! Maybe it’s just time that we’re not busy and as busy people we’re not used to it and just think of it as boredom.

    1. I like that. If I wage a war against the hours/days, then it feels like boredom. But if I embrace them, they become my seed-planting time.

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