What Can I Do With My Time?
"I'm bored," Karen whined, looking at her friends who were dozing on the couch trying to come up with yet another thing to do with their weekend. They already saw all the new movies, knew every episode of "Friends" and "Dawson's Creek" by heart, and were so tired of the same old mall that they were ready to blow the whole thing up; especially now that the mall took out the arcade for yet another clothing store, as if fifty similar stores were not enough places to shop for knackis and brand name t-shirts.
If this seems familiar to you, read on for a few new (and old) ideas that will spring you and your friends to life. And if the ideas don't spring you to life or drastically change your situation, at least you eased a moment of your boredom by reading how others might amuse themselves. Thats always fun too, right? First off is my favorite game, but it requires other people's participation (usually). It is called improv. I am sure everybody has heard of improv, but if not it is when anywhere from two to fifteen people get together and do random scenes by themselves or even in front of audiences of one to fifteen hundred people. What are these random scenes you might ask, anything the audience or a member chooses is a scene.
If anyone has watched "Whose line is it anyway?" either Drew Carey's version or the British one starring Clive Anderson they probably have a good idea what improv is and how fun it can be. The basic props can be nothing more than a few people, or you can use books, music, old clothing, wigs, toys, furniture, and even weird props that can be found even at the local thrift or dollar store. This would be a good game to check into even if you don't want to start a troop or learn anything about gaining an improv "technique." This game can even be good when babysitting, kids seem to love this game and can be entertained for hours, given that you can come up with, or find, enough different improv games. There are many games that are really amusing, my favorites are "questions," "director," and "scenes from a hat" or "world's worst." "Questions" is where the two people doing the scene can only talk in questions, and if one messes up another can take their place. This can get hard and frustrating, but if you just relax it is a lot of fun.
Making a good scene is not as important as the fun caused making it. "Director" is another fun one, because while the actors are acting, another gets to be the director and tell anyone what they must do. An example would be if two guys were fighting over a girl and the director decided the girl had a nasty cough and sneezed on everyone, one of the guys was narcoleptic and the other had a bad temper problem and was missing a leg. There would be hopping and sneezing and yelling and snores. That is what I call fantastic stage play. "Scenes from a hat" or "world's worst," whichever it is called, is where there are either a bunch of different ideas to perform scribbled down and put into a hat to draw out or where people randomly shout ideas to perform. This can range anywhere from "things to not do on a date" to "worst apocalypse announcer." But written down the games are nothing near as fun as real life. If acting was never your thing you can still have fun, I am in a group where we all have fun yet no one has taken acting or drama. Besides if you don't like doing it, but like watching it there are probably friends willing to let you direct them or just watch them play. Try it out and if you want to know more games check out this improv encyclopedia at http://www.humanpingpongball.com/.
Another fun activity is making comics. I know this seems childish and maybe I have just babysat one too many kids, but it can be really fun and requires no talent whatsoever. Trust me, I made them since second grade and still continue to love making them. They don't even have to be original. You can start out making your comics by stealing ideas from TV, radio, movies, online, people around you, your friends, and even other comic books! You can make a super hero, but you don't have to.
A super hero can be something wonderful like a perfectly toned body with strength beyond belief, but it could also be a teenage boy who wears his baby sister's diapers over his pants and a towel around his neck, chanting "Diaper boy to save the day." Anything you consider dramatic, funny, entertaining or slightly amusing goes in this wonderful world of comics. Also, comics can range from mutated stick guys with skateboards bearing 18.5 square wheels to dogs in ballerina costumes. Another plus is if you get really good at them you can pawn them off as art work and make money for unsuspecting "super hero versus princess rottweiler " subscribers.
And who knows, you could become famous off these things, but if not, wouldn't it be worth it to have a little fun? You can even use your comics as a substitute for that journal you're always being nagged to write in. You can always express yourself through comics just as well as through writing. And for those of you who do love writing that feel I have just insulted you, I did not mean to. I think its wonderful to like writing, I love writing as well. I am only offering comics as a new creative way to express yourself. They can be very fun, like if you and your friends think a particular bridge is scary at night time, the two or three of you can converge ideas and have a showdown of making up horror comics about that bridge.
If thats too scary for you or not in your tastes you could always get together to make goofy comics based on similar interests. For example, my friend Stacee who is very outgoing likes photography and cooking, while I am a shyer, quiet type with bad taste in clothes. Since she is pretty clumsy, I could show her trying to take a picture of a cake she just baked and its falling because she tried to balance it on the end of a cluttered table for that 'dramatic effect'. And in turn she could show me at a fashion show with this terrible puke green dress thinking I am going to win, while everyone laughs at me. Since comics can be a very private thing as well as a sharing among friends, you can act out your fantasies with comics.
Ever wanted to be a secret spy? Your character can be your ultra ego and give you courage to fulfill your dreams later in life. You can be the most popular girl or boy in your make believe school or town. That sounds corny, but can be fun. You'd never believe all the weird but hilarious people you can have chasing after you (or running from you, whichever you prefer). You can have clich characters like the jokester who does anything for a laugh, even makes fun of himself in front of his secret (or not so secret) crush. You can also have totally original characters like a guy who chooses skateboarding over the most attractive girl at school, or over any girl for that matter.
Other entertaining past-times can include madlibs (which can be done solo or in groups where nouns, verbs and other words are chosen than inserted in the story, for a quick view of the madlib idea go to www.elibs.com for the online version), story circles (where you go around and each person adds to the story), having a costume party in the middle of the mall seems like a good way to revive the feelings of excitement not normally found in the mall, dramatically reading aloud a book and changing all the names to people you know (or friends in the room and mutual friends, best if done in a different tone than the original story prescribes: i.e. humorously read a tragedy, sadly read a satire, romantically read something scientific, changing the atoms or species being described into your best friend), declaring holidays for random days of the week and insisting they must be celebrated in a "just so" manner (which is usually dancing in the rain, playing on the swings, decorating everything with weird things lying around the house and the giving of gifts which are even odder things found in even stranger places), dream interpreting (write down your dreams or keep a dream diary and you can share dreams with friends and swap interpretations), start a volunteer club or find out volunteer opportunities that you would enjoy doing, karaoke is always fun no matter how old you get and how sober you are, picture distorting (which can be done by either taking pictures online and using paint programs to morph them or even scanning personal photos to distort your own friends), making your own clothes or decorating the ones you have(or backpacks, purses, shoes, pillows, chairs, weapons,...crafty stuff like that is always fun to try. My only advice is get a sewing machine or power tools and learn how to use them first!), traveling can be a big thing but not everyone can afford boat and plane rides or to even take off a day from work or school (you can pretend to be tourists in your own hometown, make sure its no one you know, and see all the tourist sites at discounted tourist prices!), go swimming in the winter with local town recreational indoor pools (your town doesn't have one?).
Check prices at hotel indoor pools. Many let people who aren't staying there use the pool for a small fee), home videos (with the use of a video camera, which can be borrowed or rented, you can fulfill your acting dreams or a goofy spur of the moment idea), and another idea to try out is cooking (understandably tons of people hate to cook, but if you make it fun like pudding cookies and French toast cake, and easy to make, like no bake cookies, whats the problem, nowhere to cook? Invest in an easy bake oven, which can be used in your room at the low costs of the supplement packets that come with it). You can also try progressive things like home decorating and gardening. A few new colors and accessories can change environment to appear totally new. You might not even have to go on that vacation you can't afford, at least not if you can bring a tropical paradise into your home with fruit juices, grass skirts and flamingos. You can even build your mind or body by learning new languages, cultures, exercises, dances, sports, or self defense. Whatever interests you, I am sure if you open your eyes there are a million possibilities. Just grab them and gobble them all up!