Friday, January 18, 2008

Return of the son of things that drive you nuts

Woody Allen was arguably funnier as a writer than he is as a filmmaker. Among the recurring motifs of his early humorous pieces is the deadly, ennui-inducing salesman of life insurance or mutual funds. That early Allen could imagine nothing so boring as being trapped in an elevator with one of those creatures.

Such gibes would lose their sting in today's United States, where the ongoing American Revolution has made personal finance everyone's business, at least those who don't work in benefitless low-wage jobs.

But I think I've found something just as boring: People who talk about their cell phones. I don't mean people who talk on their cell phones; I mean people who gather round a table commiserating excitedly about roaming charges or to whom cell-phone features are a matter of pride. I swear, I once heard a man on a street corner in one of Philadelphia's ritzy shopping areas boast to his companion that "mine is smaller than yours."

Fran Lebowitz once wrote: "Big people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about wine." Today, I suspect, she'd have to miniaturize her classification even further.

How about you, dear readers? What is the most boring subject you can think of?

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

Labels:

8 Comments:

Blogger Linkmeister said...

Well, people kept bragging about their home's value continually rising all the way up to the top of the bubble.

No data yet on whether they're doing the same on the way down.

January 18, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

You might enjoy the second chapter of The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan.

January 18, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Now that's cryptic!

Ok, I'll see if my local library has it.

January 18, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

I didn't mean to be mysterious. Two cops talk about real estate prices in the chapter, one of them in the awed, excited tones you suggest in your comment. The other is bored by such talk but, in an irritating quirk similar to one Kerrigan uses in the first chapter, eventually gets into the spirit. And that's the kicker with which Kerrigan ends the chapter.

January 18, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Ah. My library has it, so I have reserved it (like I need more books to read!).

I don't go to cocktail parties, but I've heard about the ones that devolved into "Can you top this" stories about home values; that's why I suggested it.

January 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Well, certain subjects are just part of the boredom zeitgeist.

January 19, 2008  
OpenID Petrona said...

At the moment, the US election. Nothing is happening, nothing will happen for ages, but acres and acres of newsprint and blog debates on Clinton v Obama and all points east, west. Scream!!!

The announcements on the train -- every morning and evening I hear eight times (each way) the same announcements. the worst is "Beggars occasionally operate on our trains. If you see a beggar, please tell the guard". For about twenty reasons, this is ridiculous, pointless, and very boring.

My favourite Woody Allen anecdote (I think) is the one where he was asked if he believed in God. He replied "No, I am one of the loyal opposition".

Maxine (being forced by Google to call myself Petrona)

January 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

It's interesting to learn that the U.S. election and the necessarily attendant media coverage drive you nuts from such a great distance. You might be interested in a comment I posted about said media coverage here.

Does that announcement make you long for the simple beauty of "Mind the gap"? In fact, I'd say an announcement like that is not without political significance, a sort of New Labor midpoint between giving the beggars money, and scolding them. Perhaps future announcements could suggest more socially constructive ways of helping beggars than simply giving them a handout. I would love to hear the following, over and over, on a train: "Occasional public announcements are made on our trains. If you find one annoying, please tell a member of staff."

Peter (being forced by custom to call myself Peter)

January 19, 2008  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home