Boredom as an occupational illness

Just in case my boss is reading this: I am talking about being bored AT work. No. I am talking about being bored because of our fascination with literature and story-telling. By nature, and according to every guide to writing, writers read a lot.  By a lot I mean that every inch of our house is covered with books, e-readers are full more often than not, and we feel a lot closer to an assortment of fictional people than we ever felt to our peers and neighbors. Add to that our consumption of films and TV and you end up with a head full of every conceivable variation of every conceivable story.

My fiance keeps saying that she can’t watch films or shows with me as I seem to know exactly what will happen to whom (he sleeps with her, he dies, she ends up an old spinster) and I myself find myself getting bored with television or movies incredibly fast, as I have the feeling I know the ending about four minutes into the exposition. But this cannot be only because I read a lot; my fiance reads as much as I do (and faster), so why am I stuck with knowing the that kid sees dead people (just a hyperbole, I was not that good when the Sixth Sense came out), or that Jack and his mom are actually prisoners in that little Room?

I’m not a doctor (but I would like to play one on TV), nor a psychologist, but since it’s my own mind I am looking into, I am allowing myself the formation of a little theory:

Writing has changed the way I consume stories.

By this I mean that I am more prone to look critically at the plot, what drives it, where is it going, since I have become accustomed to try and plan my own plots. This, in my case, is helped with a little bit of academic knowledge on literature, but not much (a bachelor’s degree isn’t exactly a PhD in narratology…) so I do attribute this to writing rather than the abundance of reading alone.

Luckily for me, this mainly affects my viewing of films and shows and books to a far lesser degree (probably because the frustration of already knowing what will happen is offset by a weird sense of pride in having predicted the more prestigious literary form’s progress).

Unfortunately, things don’t end in just knowing what will happen. Yesterday, a new occupational illness was brought to my attention, and that I am suffering from it. Sitting among my fellow proof-readers and professional translators, we all shared stories about our moments of grammar-nazi behavior and I realized that I am guilty as well. I can hardly go one day without correcting people’s grammar, spelling, style, or whatever, even when I am not being paid to do it, but rather to shut up and go away.

I feel those two afflictions are a part of being a writer, the drawback inherent in loving the written word. Oh, but what a price to pay!

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