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Throw away your earbuds, boredom is good

Throw away your earbuds, boredom is good

At a post office in West Hollywood, the queue was seven agitated people long. Normally I'd have put in earbuds, listened to something on my phone. But I'd quit recently: No more headphones. No more podcasts on the go. No more Spotify at the gym. Boredom was my new fix, an extremely boring one at that. A cigarette that's all filter, no smoke.

Earbuds are like underwear: It's safe to assume that almost everyone's got a pair on them at all times. Not just earbuds, but noise-canceling headphones, Bluetooth headsets. We use them for music, for conversation, to dutifully absorb the latest news or popular entertainment that so many of us treat like homework. Serena Williams caught flak...