Oh yeah, it runs on the world's most powerful graphics chip: Imagination!
December 16, 2012 11:58 AM   Subscribe

What are some fun daydreams I can think about to fill up long bus journeys?

Hey guys! So lately I have had to take hour or two hour long bus rides quite often, and I like audiobooks and podcasts, so feel free to recommend those too, but but what I really love are fun daydreams where I can go on adventures in first person!

I have a few ones that I keep going back to (zombie apocalypses, going into space, cheesy romance ones starring me and my celebrity crushes)... But I seem to always go back to the same categories of daydreams and I would like to explore new places with my imagination! So... What are your favourite daydreams? Help entertain me on boring bus rides! :)
posted by dinosaurprincess to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (30 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
Intricate plans on what I would do with my fortune if I won the lottery.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:59 AM on December 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

For several years, I have had an ongoing daydream about what it would have been like to travel the length of the Silk Road, from somewhere in Western Europe (usually Venice, but sometimes I switch it up) to Xi'an.

I also like to think about what my life would have been like if I had been born in a different century, but same last two digits. So, for example, 1781, 1381, 81 AD, 81 BC, etc.

All of the above said, I am a huge history nerd.
posted by Sara C. at 12:02 PM on December 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

A murder in a small town where you know all the suspects.
posted by tully_monster at 12:04 PM on December 16, 2012

I love this question. My most common daydreams are probably house-design ones. More over the top the better. Would it be possible to build a modern Hobbit hole? What about a tree-mansion?

The occasional power-fantasy doesn't go amiss, either. How would I reshape the world riding a crest of popular revolutionary fervour?

Strong heroic roles are good too I think. Whom would you rescue from the evil machinations of your enemies, and how would you do it? These can be fantasy based as well, of course. Taking a stock historical/fantasy/sci-fi setting and projecting yourself or alter-ego into it is good.

And how about the fantasy casting call? Currently I'm working on casting the TV adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I'm going to be furious when they don't get it right.

Just a few thoughts, anyway.
posted by howfar at 12:05 PM on December 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

You invent antigravity. You pitch it on shark tank.
posted by Sophont at 12:08 PM on December 16, 2012

Sometimes when I want to have a happy daydream, I just put together a slideshow of happy moments from my memory. Like, for example, that time everyone applauded me in sixth grade during gym class, that time my father was impressed that I captured his queen at chess, that time the guy my sixteen-year-old self loved desperately told me I was beautiful, that time I saw that cool girl I barely knew (my future best friend, though I didn't know it at the time) across the quad my freshman year of college and she walked up to me and gave me a huge hug.

It's pretty great once you get it rolling. It's like you've somehow tagged all of the memories with "happiness," and if you search by sensation you'll end up reliving these tiny, beautiful little moments you'd almost forgotten. They start coming faster and faster until you've almost riding a roller coaster through your own life.

The first time I did it I started weeping with gratitude that I'd been so lucky to have amassed so many lovely memories.
posted by duvatney at 12:09 PM on December 16, 2012 [12 favorites]

Yep, Sara C's imaginary lives through history is a good one.

Ideal City planning: geographical location, topographical details, architectural styles, amenities, ecological strategies... And when I have a great deal of time, history of settlement, culture, language development.

I also like (re)decorating homes I've seen. Not my own! That gets too real and can lead to paint fumes and excitement. Oh, but yes to designing gardens, on a grand scale. Think sections for different biotopes and maybe including fauna and follies. (This could be genetic. My father's strategy for falling asleep was mentally building an airplane.)
posted by likeso at 12:10 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I imagine myself as a character in one of my favorite TV shows (no, not Reno 911).
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:15 PM on December 16, 2012

You could daydream you are on a Porno Bus?
posted by ian1977 at 12:17 PM on December 16, 2012

Yeah mine are mostly about "Let me construct a scenario in which this person, who would not normally sleep with me, would happily and consensually sleep with me." It's just as likely to be science fiction or fantasy and has resulted in some fairly solid non-porn-dependent worldbuilding, but I am also the person who forgets to actually get to the sex part of masturbation fantasies in favor of working out the economic situation.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:22 PM on December 16, 2012 [7 favorites]

Sometimes I imagine that I've been gifted a gigantic mansion and a huge sum of money, which I am only allowed to keep if I decorate/modify each of the 100 rooms with a substantially different theme.
posted by Garm at 12:28 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Re-cast yourself as a character in a story you know well. Make different decisions. (For example, if Snow White, don't eat the apple - if the evil queen, try a different method of dealing with the situation). Follow through on different consequences for the new decisions.
posted by bunderful at 12:30 PM on December 16, 2012

I make up back stories for the strangers around me.

It's amazing how many spies and time travellers I've shared a bus with.
posted by meronym at 12:30 PM on December 16, 2012 [7 favorites]

My main Bored Thing To Do is recast my favourite movies under the following categories:

- genderswap (switch genders of all main characters)
- raceswap (recast all james bond movies with PoC actors, for example)
- old movies with new actors (modern-day casting of Some Like It Hot, for example)
- if X directed Y (if woody allen directed a jewish version of the godfather, if michael bay directed fiddler on the roof, etc)

Also fantasy castings of books that have not yet been made into movies, or books that were badly made into movies.

The rest of the time I imagine making out with Idris Elba.
posted by elizardbits at 12:35 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

You are going to be sent back in time (to a period of your choosing, but make it something reasonably distant). You have just an hour (or whatever) to prepare. What do you prepare? When you get there, how will you survive? How will you convince people to listen to you rather than casting you out as a witch, etc? Do you choose to reveal that you're a time-traveler and have valuable information, or do you invent some other cover story for why you don't speak the language and so on?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:52 PM on December 16, 2012

Conversely, someone from the past (or a fictional setting) appears next to you and is confused. What do you have to explain, and how?
posted by restless_nomad at 12:59 PM on December 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

When I trained for a marathon, there were many many hours of just trotting along on hours long runs. I had a recurring daydream about Prince (the musician).

I would imagine I was going to visit him and imagine a sort of huge purple mansion with a big circular drive and sort of imagine what each room would look like (furnishings, decor), how Prince would escort me around and what his closet would look like.

I'd also have a recurring thought of "what is Prince doing--right at this moment?" Imagining him in his PJs or reading in the bathtub or looking for that one guitar.

I'm not a huge Prince fan, it just started as an inside joke and then my mind would wander to it while bored.
posted by dottiechang at 1:08 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Or you get to spend a week in any place/time you want, magically disguised as whatever gender/social class person you choose, and you can speak the language and you have unlimited time to get up to speed on the culture/pressing issues of the day/etc beforehand. Where do you go, who do you go as, how do you prepare, what do you do when you're there?
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:08 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like to build zombie-proof houses, surrounded by zombie-proof neighbourhoods. It's quite the logistical challenge.

and not very relaxing
posted by thisclickableme at 1:19 PM on December 16, 2012

restless_nomad's "reverse time travel" idea has been one of my go-to daydreams for almost my entire life. Highly recommended.
posted by Sara C. at 1:34 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sadly, most of my daydreams during my hour-and-a-half on the bus (making a full three hours a day) consist of alternating between "Oh my God, why are all you people so annoying, how can I possibly murder you without getting caught." and "Jesus Christ, who taught these people how to drive, you're going up against a goddamn bus."

But I can recommend podcasts.

If you like spooky stories, No Sleep Podcast is an hour of spoooooky stories. Hit & Miss, but the bad ones, you can mock while listening.

Good Job Brain is fun for delightful and ridiculous trivia, and that's usually around 45 minutes long.

I find the British Board of Film Classification podcast deeply interesting. Sadly, it's only released monthly, but if you like films, and like British people, it's a lot of fun.

BBC World Service's Witness is an utterly brilliant short weekday podcast filled with stories of historical events around the world. Everything from the terrifying to the sublime to the utterly ridiculous.

The Bugle is sheer topical comedy gold.

And for musical delights: The Quiet Village is beautiful tiki and exotica that calms me down no matter how terrible my work day is going to be, and Project Moonbase is just heaven. Absolute heaven.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:50 PM on December 16, 2012 [6 favorites]

Pick any story/movie/TV that you know, which takes place at least 30 years ago, preferably something with an intricate plot line like a murder mystery or something. Now play it out again but this time answer the question: How would this story be different if they had cellphones?? It is amazing how many old movie plots depended on miscommunication or inability to communicate.
posted by CathyG at 3:14 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I haven't run a D&D game in 20 years but if I ever did again the players would be happy to find I had designed several amazing intricate dungeon adventures for them. All you need is a piece of paper to start drawing a map on.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:00 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Imagine taking a historical figure on a tour of modern life.
posted by lyam at 5:43 PM on December 16, 2012

Dottiechang reminded me of the marathon training runs I ran with political consultants and hacks. We would pick a state and talk about opportunities there for each party - governor, senate, Congress. That might not be up your alley but what about what you would do if you had a week in x state?
posted by kat518 at 9:43 PM on December 16, 2012

Yeah, similar to restless_nomad and lyam, one of my favorite time-killers is "I Ride the Bus With Benjamin Franklin."
posted by ostro at 10:49 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

On my subway commute, I have a recurring fantasy where I imagine an alien species coming into contact with earth. How do they get here? What do they say? What other species have they come into contact with? What is their government like, their society? How do we react to them?

Don't limit yourself to science fiction. My alien species is more in the realm of fantasy - they are able to come to earth for a window of only a century or so, until the time differential overwhelms their teleport systems - at first time runs faster here than there, at the middle of the window it runs at the same speed, then time runs faster for them, and they are no longer able to contact us. THey;re about 7 feet tall and have a government run by a succession of long-lived shamans, who are mediums for different river systems. They live mostly in small rural communes. It's gotten steadily weirder.

Imagine someone who was raised on both planets and the decisions they would have to make during the end of the window of contact. What about them might make us uncomfortable, and vice versa?

But your alien species and interaction timeline will totally different, and will probably engender totally different questions.
posted by Rinku at 2:45 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I feel like this is embarrassing to admit, but my recurring fantasy is what I'd do with $1,000,000. I can spend a looooooooong time deciding how much to give away, and to whom, and which charities, whose mortgage I would secretly and anonymously pay off, who I would buy life-long flower delivery subscriptions for, the great vacations I would take my family on... I calculate how much I'd have to keep in the bank so that it would produce enough interest so that I could be sure I'd be able to pay for X and Y in my own life. I decide on the 10 material items I would buy myself: finally, a really nice winter coat, a better commuter bike, some comfy lounge clothes JUST for lounging in, a second computer charger so I NEVER have to forget mine at work again, etc. I imagine my parents never having to worry about retirement, and buying them a fabulous washing machine that will never break. The fun is in making it all fit in to $1,000,000, like pieces of a puzzle. The emotional reward is that I get to exercise imaginary generosity, which gives me the warm fuzzies, and imagine the classy comforts I don't have in my life right now. Sometimes I get really serious about it and promise to myself that if I ever do have $1,000,000 I'm going to truly be generous with it and only upgrade my own situation to a degree that seems actually meaningful.

I should warn you, though, sometimes it can actually be a bummer when you come back to reality...

To combat that, I usually also try to think of ways I can be generous right away. That's a good fantasy too. Sharing a snack on the bus is nice. You can always compliment somebody on their nice hat or good taste in books or whatever. :)
posted by Cygnet at 7:55 AM on December 17, 2012

I like to play the "prep for the apocalypse" game. What should I stock up on? Which food supplies can I most effectively use? Do I have enough salt and vinegar? If we fled in a car, what would we take? What if we had 10 minutes to pack? What if we had a week's notice? Which medication should I bring? Should i buy the Foxfire books in hardback, cause im guessing my kindle wont be working?

It gives me endless entertainment, usually when trying to fall asleep-all the permutations.
posted by purenitrous at 3:18 PM on December 17, 2012

Some of my finest daydreams have plots stolen from YA novels I read when I was 12 or so.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:55 PM on December 19, 2012

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