Boring meetings call for important time-killing strategies. I personally recommend geography, writing down your answers on the back of your powerpoint sheets. It takes enough thought to distract you, but can be interrupted at a moment’s notice to say “Well, but where do you draw the line?” or “We’re not allowed to express obvious contempt to that agency, are we?” without losing any ground. Naming the states is good, and having a go at the capitals is humbling at first. No one has ever heard of Jefferson City, MO except in the context of memorizing the capitals, so 45 years later, it’s hard to pull up. European countries are tougher than you’d think. There are now about 50 on official lists like the CIA and FIFA, because they include Azerbaijan, Kiribati, and now Montenegro.
It doesn’t take too many meetings before you’re up on this Azerbaijan and Kiribati stuff, really. You make your list of countries and get to what – 20? Then you leave the meeting and check on it and go “oh, Poland! How could I forget Poland?” and “Malta? Malta counts as a European country? I didn’t even know it was independent. I thought someone still owned it.” And at the next meeting you get 18 of your original 20, plus 10 you remember from checking the list…pretty soon you’re ready to move on to capital cities or start on Africa. (Africa will take more than a few meetings).
Rivers are good. For American rivers you can get a half-dozen each of White, Black, and Red. Animal names, state names, Indian names, and you have a flock o’ rivers already. European rivers – not so much fun. Even the English rivers aren’t always in English.
I used to do mental arithmetic, but that was when I still had the desire – and ability – to concentrate that hard. It seems too tiring now. I don’t recommend these games at all, in fact, unless need drives you. They do take some energy, and why waste that when you could be doing something enjoyable? But when you’re stuck somewhere, it’s worth the investment.
You had no idea I was this boring, did you?