It seems to depend on the individual, his personality, heredity, upbringing, etc. I’ve only been bored when forced to do something or be somewhere I don’t want to be, which includes people, company, that I don’t want to be in. Other than that, I’m boredom free, love to ride on buses and trains, whether above ground or under, and just take it all in; or, if in a more reflective mood, thinking about something that interests me, try to solve a problem or recall something pleasant.
In my case, imagination is or appears to be the key. It’s like I’m a mill and all is grist (as they used to say). I’ve empathized with but never truly understood people who, when, after planning, say, the big weekend, learn at the last minute that they cannot go where planned, or that it’s raining so hard there’s no point in traveling. They mope about, walk back and forth like caged animals; nothing, not even television, can provide them relief.
I’m not like that. When I’m in the same or similar position, I experience some pain and sadness, then find something else to do. But I’m a highly cerebral person, and my brain is my best friend. It seems to me that the more a person has “going on upstairs” the less likely he is to suffer from boredom. I think that advertizing and our consumer based culture is a (if not THE) major factor in the ennui so many people suffer from. They’re like Pavlov’s dogs: when the green “joy light” is lit, they’re happy as pigs in &^%$, but when there’s a red light they don’t know what to do with themselves. Sad.
It saddens me more that the worst part is that being hip or “with it” is so ingrained in so many people in advanced industrial societies such as ours, that it takes real daring, courage, to step of of line and really do Your Own Thing.