“I’m So-o-o-o Bored”

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I have written in the past about the very long car trips we took to go from Portland, Oregon to Buffalo, New York. When we four kids were extremely bored(most of the time) my mother couldn’t rely on her time honored “I have something you can do,” usually house chores. Instead we were left to our own devices. Except we didn’t have any electronic devices to pass the time.

My sisters and brother managed to spend a lot of time reading, but I got car sick when reading, so that was out. Poking each other seemed an ideal alternative. Sadly, this provoked my mother enough for her to stop the station wagon and rearrange our seating. The most dreaded pronouncement was “You will have to come up front and ride with me.” That would have guaranteed that the “lucky” kid would be terminally bored. We tried to walk the thin line between entertaining ourselves and being yanked up to the front seat.

One of my favorite toys was the number sliding puzzle pictured above. At the start the numbers were in a random order. I tried to rearrange the numbers in a sequence from 1 to 15 in four rows with 1 in the upper left corner and 15 in the bottom right. After doing that, I would scramble the tiles and try to get four columns of numbers with 1 to 4 in the left hand row and so forth. The task challenged me no matter how many times I did it.

Then it was back to the license plate hunt, the looking for letters of the alphabet search, and long naps.

24 thoughts on ““I’m So-o-o-o Bored”

  1. I think kids need to learn how to deal with boredom. Kids today (I sound like my gran) seem to be shielded from boredom, as if it were a parental failing to allow a moment without entertainment.

  2. I also got very car sick as a child, and would never have had the patience for that puzzle. Instead, I used to spot the car registration plates, then look up in the back of the Automobile association handbook, to see where they came from.
    My Dad would also make me try to guess the make and model of the cars approaching, before they got close enough to see the emblems or badges.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. There were 5 kids in my family when I was growing up (#6 came later) so we seemed to be able to entertain ourselves pretty well on trips. My sisters and I loved to sing, so that was fun in the car. If I ever said I was bored at home the immediate answer was, ‘I’ll find you something to do,’ which meant chores, so I was careful about saying it.

  4. Our family trips were similar except we wanted to go up to the front seat! I have two brothers and one was a terrible tease and pest. We wanted to get moved to the front seat to get away from him, but HE was the one who always ended up there. Thanks for the memories!

  5. I used to do those sliding puzzles all the time too, Elizabeth. We took some brutal cross country trips when I was a kid, and there were times when we saw vehicles from all fifty states.

    When we used to travel with our little son, he was into construction vehicles. We invented this game to count the number on our travels. When we would get tired, he would ask his mom and me to keep counting while he was asleep. Ha-ha! He’d wake up and ask us what the new count was. Quickly one of us would throw out some random number like 57. Even though he was still very young, he would catch us. “Wait a minute. There were 64 before I went to sleep!” Oops, busted!

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