Story Go Round 1/31/2003, round 1, #7

" ... bored in Arizona ..."

Boredom is its own reward. If you don't believe me, ask Phillip. He is the master of futility. He lives on a mesa in Arizona. He lives with his mother. He dresses like his mother. She is actually the queen of the banal. Nothing of note ever happens when she's around. So nothing has ever happened to him, well, not much, nothing newsworthy or anything like that. Nothing you'd ever write home about, or even tell the stranger next to you in the elevator. I mean, things are really slow for him. He lived in slow motion, like those shots in movies, except every minute of every day. And if his life were a movie, his mother would be in every scene, somewhere in the background.

One day, a knock came on the door. He ignored it. It came back two days later and repeated itself several times. It was a tired knock, one that didn't make one want to answer. You know - like the magazine salesman who's been to 53 houses already, and he's selling pens. It made him sleepy, sitting there on the couch in his underwear, so he went to take a serious nap. A serious nap, his mother always said, was at least an hour in length and must be slept straight through without changing positions. Sometimes, he got the nap wrong and had to start all over again, occasionally. His mother deducted $10 from his allowance for each infraction. This one would be a truly worthy two-and-a-half hours of senselessness.

A knock came again, reminding him of one time a few years ago when something bumped the roof. This was a different knock, though, and he pondered that for a while. Well, Phillip didn't exactly ponder, he rather mulled. It could be mother, he imagined. She's testing me, he began to theorize, to see if I'll get up before I have to. Then he forgot the premise of his theory and reached for his month-old chocolate milk. It was rather flavorless, like his flavorless oatmeal. I say that as a matter of truth, to illustrate his character, not because he ever thought it was flavorless - he never thought about the taste of his food. His lumpy milk didn't even smell sour to his lack of senses.

Anyway, Phillip was gazing into his chocolate milk and trying to figure out if that was his mother's knock. His mother was watching him thru the hidden camera, thinking of nothing in particular. His mother sometimes knocked on the door and other times he just imagined it. Life was just better when ignored. Suddenly, ... no wait, it wasn't that sudden. He saw it coming for four and a half minutes, just to be clear. The curtain on the window lifted slightly, then settled back. Sometimes breezes like that near gave him a heart attack. Excitement like that could cause hyperventilation.

Phillip alternated between boredom and aimlessness. Occasionally he was struck by a fit of ennui, which always left him fatigued, and usually took a week to recover from. It is extremely difficult to be a convincing zombie.