Dealing with boredom

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Dealing with boredom

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Bored? You're not alone. Rob and Finn discuss how to deal with boredom and teach some related vocabulary. We promise you won't be bored!

  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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Note: This is not a word for word transcript

Rob

Hello I’m Rob. Welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m joined today by Finn. Hello Finn.

Finn

Hi Rob. You know, I’m happy you called me to present this programme with you because I was there by my desk feeling a bit bored (yawns loudly).

Rob

Great yawn, Finn! A yawn, of course, is that typical reaction of someone who is bored.

Finn

Yeah, it’s when you open your mouth wide and take some air in and slowly out.

Rob

Okay. Let’s make this a programme all about boredom, shall we? And I’ll start by stimulating your imagination.

Finn

Thank you, but how are you going to make me excited and interested in something, Rob?

Rob

How about I challenge you to a question you might not know the answer to?

Finn

Okay, well, you can try. Go on then.

Rob

Well, I know you like the theatre.

Finn

I do. But it has to be an exciting play or I get restless.

Rob

Restless, you mean unable to sit still because you get bored or worried even. Okay. I wonder how you’d feel watching the longest continuous play recorded?

Finn

That’s quite an offer. What do you mean?

Rob

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest continuous dramatic performance was held in New Jersey, in the US, in 2010. But do you know how long the cast for The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco, was on stage for? Was it for about:

a) 8 hours

b) 17 hours

c) 23 hours

Finn

Wow! They’re all pretty long. I’ll say b) 17 hours, Rob.

Rob

Goodness! Right. Okay. I’ll let you know the answer by the end of the programme. Now, let’s talk more about boredom. I think this is a feeling we have to learn how to cope with.

Finn

Yes, we have to learn to deal with this situation successfully – to cope with it. But people often feel they want to change their life, to change their job. They might feel stuck in a rut.

Rob

That’s a good phrase - stuck in a rut. So you mean you’ve become too fixed in one kind of job?

Finn

Yes. You know Rob, even I sometimes dream of something a bit more exciting like being a professional diver or maybe even a pilot of a really fast plane.

Rob

Well, guess what: even pilots get bored, you know?

Finn

Not when they are flying anyway.

Rob

Wrong. When they’re up in the air!

Finn

No way! Really? I don’t believe you!

Rob

Well, Missy Cummings, an American, was a fighter pilot. Listen to the phrasal verb she uses meaning to stop being bored, at least for a while. Is there ever time for a fighter pilot to get bored?

Missy Cummings, former fighter pilot:

Oh my gosh, sure, for the same reasons that commercial pilots get bored. These fighter jets are very automated when it comes to just holding altitude and heading. So you turn everything in autopilot and I probably listened to more Oprah Winfrey TV shows on the high-frequency radios… And so you get good about using the technology to figure out how to stave off that boredom.

Finn

Ah, so she listened to a show hosted by the American presenter Oprah Winfrey on the radio to stave off her boredom. Now, to stave off means to stop or to keep an unpleasant feeling away. In this case she means boredom.

Rob

Yes, indeed.

But some experts think there’s something good about feeling bored.

Finn

Really?

Rob

Let’s hear what Tiffany Watt-Smith has to say. She works for the Centre for the History of Emotions at the Queen Mary University of London. Pay attention to the word she uses to describe what boredom does to people.

Tiffany Watt-Smith, Queen Mary University of London:

On the one hand people are worried about being under-occupied and bored. On the other there’s a set of anxieties about us having any more downtime, you know. We can constantly check our phones at the bus stop. Everything is to be filled and what does that do to our minds? I think boredom is a very useful emotion. It’s an emotion which spurs people on to change something about their environment. If you’re bored that gives rise to creativity.

Finn

So boredom spurs people on to change something. To spur on means to stimulate or to encourage someone to do something.

Rob

So what are you going to do, Finn? How will you change your life?

Finn

Change my life? Okay. Two things. The first one is: I want to know if I got that question right!

Rob

Well I said at the beginning of the programme that the longest continuous dramatic performance was held in New Jersey, US, in 2010. And I asked you how long was the cast on stage for to play The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco.

Finn

Yes. The options were 8 hours, 17 hours and 23 hours, I think. And I said 17. Was I right?

Rob

You were not!

Finn

Oh, no!

Rob

It was even longer.

Finn

Wow! 23!

Rob

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the play lasted 23 hours, 33 minutes and 54 seconds. It was achieved by The 27 O’Clock Players who performed The Bald Soprano at Belmar, New Jersey, USA, on 27 July 2010. Anyway Finn, what’s the second thing you’re going to do to stave off your boredom?

Finn

You know what, Rob? I’m going to book myself a fantastic holiday! Maybe I could start with a visit to Patagonia in Argentina to see the penguins…

Rob

Yeah, it sounds very exciting. But before you head off to Patagonia, could you remind us of some of the English words we’ve heard today?

Finn

We heard:

yawn

stimulating

restless

to cope with

stuck in a rut

to stave off

to spur on

Rob

Thanks Finn. That’s it for this programme. I hope you didn’t find it boring.

Finn

Not at all. I loved it!

Rob

Please join us soon again for 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.

Both

Bye.

From the archives

All 6 Minute English programmes pre-September 2014 can be found here.

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