Writing about design and neighbouring things, I often find myself struggling with the limits of my vocabulary. «Interesting» is a word I relapse into, too frequently maybe, in lack of better terms. It’s not necessarily a bad thing: the word has a specific meaning, that makes it useful in many circumstances. But to this meaning another use was overlayed, as a generic conversation prop.

As a result, when one defines someone or something as «interesting», the listener is entitled to some diffidence. Even if one simply meant: «interesting».

Interesting is also the title of a very short story by Lydia Davis, from her collection Samuel Johnson is Indignant (McSweeney’s Books, 2001). A few lines:

Here is a very handsome English traffic engineer. The fact that he is so handsome, and so animated, and has such a fine English accent makes it appear, each time he begins to speak, that he’s about to say something interesting, but he is never interesting, and he is saying something, yet again, about traffic patterns.

The full text is here (scroll down), together with another good short piece on the same theme, Boring Friends.