I remember learning the word “ennui” in seventh grade. It stuck with me because it was the first time I had a word for how I really felt about school. It was more than merely boredom, it was boredom that annoyed me. Evidently “ennui” and “annoy” have the same Latin root. In school, there was really nothing to do about it but feign interest and try not to fall asleep.
One day (I was in seventh or eighth grade) I yawned in class and the nun asked “Are we boring you, Mr. Holton?” I made my apologies and tried harder not to yawn. Now that I think about it, I should have said “You’ve been boring me since kindergarten.” It would have been closer to the truth. Maybe that’s why I connected so well with Calvin & Hobbes: I understood Calvin. My flights of fantasy to fight the boredom of the classroom were nowhere near as colorful as Calvin’s, though.
Wonder what would have happened if I had answered that question the way I should have. I’d probably have been in serious trouble, but I think it would have been worth it.
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