Tuesday 13 December 2011


On Saturday I heard some bad news: I was told that I was “boring”.

The accuser didn’t tell me to my face; she did it in a subtle way but she spoke her words directly in front of me (almost as if I wasn't there). The conversation went something like this (the words changed slightly to protect the guilty and the innocent):

Mrs PM: I work at a place that's similar to your workplace. My company does the same sort of thing.

The Accuser: How BORING!!

Mrs PM: What? What do you mean, “boring”?

The Accuser: It must be full of engineers – and engineers are SO BORING!

Mrs PM (grinding her teeth): Well I’m an engineer, of sorts – and I like it.

The Accuser (now referring to me): Well YOU TWO are MADE for each other then!!

I thought Mrs PM was going to explode. Mrs PM was actually trying to help the person concerned and the “boring” tag was something she really didn’t like at all.

I was amazed that somebody had the audacity to call Mrs PM and I boring to our faces. Not only that: she actually called ALL engineers boring.

The Accuser, thankfully moved away, presumably her senses being nullified by the tedium of our conversation - or maybe she sensed the aggression in Mrs PM's demeanour.

“I can’t believe she said that,” said Mrs PM snarling. “How can she call engineers boring? I’m not boring, am I?”

“I wouldn’t know,” I said jokingly. “I’m boring too.”

Sadly, that didn’t go down too well.

There are a lot of engineers in my company, as you would imagine, so really the Accuser’s slur was directed at all of us.

Now I don’t want to have a go at somebody I barely know – so I won’t. Well, I might do – one day.

But I certainly won’t do it now. It wouldn’t be very nice.

I have actually heard one other woman who works for my company (she shall remain nameless) say a similar thing about one of my fellow engineers:

“He’s really quite nice – for an engineer”.

Again, this struck me as an odd thing to say (and of course he was ridiculed mercilessly for it). And if you are reading, dear engineer - I'm sorry for bringing it up again - but I do have a point to make so I hope you'll forgive me.

Of course, Captain Paranoia had a field day:

“HA HA!!! She just told you TO YOUR FACE what everybody else thinks of you. You are tedium personified. I've been telling you that for YEARS! You have the same effect on people as Medusa – one sentence from you turns them to stone. Even your cats find you boring – your bloody cats!!”

And for a while I heeded his words and started to think – am I boring?

Are engineers all boring people?

Do we induce coma when we use our tedious conversation as a weapon to neutralise people?

Do people fall asleep when listening to us?

Are you, dear reader, struggling to stay awake while reading my monotonous rambling?

I haven’t noticed it to be honest. But would I really notice something like that? Do people call me boring behind my back?

One thing I will say about the Accuser is although she has to interact with engineers as part of her job (albeit briefly), she isn’t an engineer herself. She doesn’t sit at a desk with engineers and she doesn’t therefore participate in our day to day banter.

Consequently, she doesn't really know us.

Maybe we are all geeks who are so preoccupied with technology, gadgets, science fiction and computers that we have little time for small talk about the more mundane things in life that might interest a wider range of people.

I know for a fact that I wouldn’t want to spend my time having a conversation about soap operas for example.

Does that make me boring?

Now, I know a bore when I see one – but I would never call a person boring to his or her face – even if I really did find them boring.

Anyway, I don’t mind what people think of me. I have a thick skin and I can take it. I’ve been called far worse.

One thing I do know, if you are ever unfortunate enough to be trapped in a conversation with me and are about to blackout into an abyss of oblivion, just remember what you have read on this very blog; you can change me from being a boring bastard into a rampaging, ranting monster just by asking me what I think of X Factor, politicians or a whole host of insane madness that blights my world.

On seconds thoughts, maybe that’s not such a good idea.

I just hope this post didn’t bore you.

Are you still awake?

Hello …



Elephant's Child said...

Not boring. Not boring at all. Which the fact people keep coming back to read and comment should tell you. Smack Captain Paranoia, and Little Miss Rude back into their respective boxes.

WV:consp - as in its a conspiracy

Kath Lockett said...

Firstly, how RUDE of that person! With Sapphire (seemingly) a permanent fixture at home at the moment, we've been watching a lot of UK telly - you'll be pleased to know that X-factor hasn't been selected even once.

However, we are addicted to the hilarious adventures of 'Come Dine With Me' - putting mis-matched and frequently clueless folk together for dinner parties. It is here that your Rude Person would belong as these contestants are often very ignorant.

One woman was a guest of another woman who owned an enormous country estate and said, "I don't like old things. You couldn't pay me to live in a house like this."

She was a GUEST in the house and said it to her hostess' FACE. She'd barely spent five minutes in a beautiful, historic old house and had decided that her opinion needed to be vomited forth without any more time to reflect, think about things or get to know the house or the host; let alone take one bit out of her entree.

In fact - I'm warming up now; the coffee's working - no-one is boring. Even the mute, cripplingly shy person in the corner that everyone's given up on has a story or an interest or a point of view that's interesting if they're given a chance. Even if they're stupid or repellent, it's not 'boring'. I hate that word - BORING. It's right up there with GUILT.

Back to you and Mrs PM - engineers are intelligent (otherwise they'd be grease monkeys or just putting the computers into boxes), quirky (too many examples to include here) and usually have particularly good senses of humour (clothing choices is the first clue). I have a lot of mates I met in Uni who are engineers (mechanical, civil, electronic) and they're all generous, hilarious, genuine, smart, considerate and unique.

Your Rude Person is the boring one for being so unimaginative as to lump everyone into their own stereotyped basket. So ppppppptttttttthhhh to her! (that's the literary equivalent of a big raspberry). K xo

Pandora Behr said...

I like engineers. They aren't boring. Okay, the extroverts are the ones who look at your shoes when they're talking to you, and the ones that aren't borderline Asperger's Syndrome and borderline autistic - but nah, that's wrong. To make an engineer a bit more interesting, fill him with beer.

We need engineers. Don't fret PM./


River said...

Clearly that accuser has no idea what an engineer actually does.
Just think where the world would be without those who think of, design and construct almost everything we use on a daily basis.
Bridges, for example, there's a marvel of engineering, and without them, we'd never get across that river as quickly and easily as we do now. Ships and planes...trains, heck even the wheel was an engineer's discovery. I don't find this at all boring.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I don't regard myself or any other engineers as boring. Some bore me from time to time but I'm certain that I do bore people too on occasion. But that's the same for most people I think.

I don't really care to be honest.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

You can borrow my soapbox any time.


Mrs PM watches "Come Dine With Me" and I must admit I have watched the odd episode. It amazes me that people put themselves through such trauma.

I would never openly insult a person like that. I agree about GUILT too - I've had my fair share of that in the past.

As I said to EC - most engineers are interesting and funny - I totally agree.

But deep inside I am quite shy myself and it is a constant battle to subdue that irritating facet of my personality - I must be winning the war because people are always flabbergasted when I admit to being shy.

Anyway - enough now. Captain Paranoia has been put away.

Let me know if you want the soapbox again - just make sure I'm not using it.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I like engineers too particularly when filled with beer


As I said on other responses - I don't worry about things like that. I could have let rip - but I chose not to.

Although one of my fellow engineers did suggest that maybe she was joking - perhaps - but I'm not so sure. Good job I didn't let rip then I guess.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,


I can't claim to be as talented as some engineers (all I do is write software) but their feats are magnificent.

How can engineers be boring?




drb said...

Yawn... Good night Mr PM.
Thank you, it is what I needed to put me to sleep.... zzzz

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

All part of the service ...




Wally The Walrus said...

Geez thats offensive, and you can shove Mr Paranoia firmly back in a very small box.

I'm an engineer too, and of those who graduate I reckon that after about 20 years, only 5% of less are stilla ctually doing cool creative geeky stuff. The rest have moved into management (where the $ are, until the lawn-mower blades of corporate cost cutting get lowered); of they become personal trainers, go into marketing, ged religion, or whatever.

The world needs the engineers who can tough it out and become the grumpy grizzled old farts who teach the young bucks (cos university only really acts as a weeding-out place and has a secondary function of teaching you where to look when you need something).

The engineers are the PRACTICAL people who take the ideas of science and turn it into reality. They MAKE things. If not for the engineers, people who still be living in caves and arguing about the merits of that dangerous stuff known as FIRE.

Those who find engineers boring are in fact admitting their own intellectual inadequacy, and their own stultifying lack of creativity.

In what other profession (badly paid though it is) can you USE the wonders of scientific discovery AND get the kick that the artist gets from creating a new and wondrous thing?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Wally,

I couldn't agree more.

Nicely summed up.