Monday, October 14, 2013

The “B” word I never use

Perhaps you promised to get those edits to me overnight, and now it’s next week, and you need them an hour ago. Or maybe I asked you to participate in a service project with me, or attend a fundraiser for a cause I care about. It could possibly even be several days after some social gathering I hosted, to which you’d RSVP’d, but did not show up.

In any case, I know the magic word you’re going to lob in the air, one that will float over to me and instantly extricate you from any consequences. You know it, too. It’s your all-purpose pass for ignoring, forgetting and blowing off anything, everything and everyone.
       “I’m just so busy.” 
      “I’m crazy busy.” 
      “It’s insane right now.” 
     “You have no idea how busy I am.” 

You’re right. I don’t have any idea how busy you are. Even if you’re a very close friend, I don’t have an opportunity to observe how you order all your days or fill your time. But you don’t have any idea what’s happening on my end of the exchange, either, and, to be honest, I’ve never noticed you asking.

That’s why, lately, whenever someone wails about their “crazy busy” life, the more I hear something else – “I’m the busiEST. I have the most jam-packed schedule, and my life is way bigger than yours. And, now that I’ve invoked the “B” word, you are hereby obligated to murmur sympathy and offer condolences on my lamentable busy state. Poor, poor me.”

So, yeah, I’m starting to feel the weight of that a little bit – to be tugged down by the crazy-busy-ers who seem to fill up the airwaves all around me, competing for space and sympathy. I don’t even know if I’m busy or not, because it’s so hard to hear myself think above the drone of everyone else’s hyper-full lives.

But here is what I do know – I’m not going to tell you every detail of my crazy-busy-ness, even if that’s what I’m feeling right now. Instead, if you ask me to do something or be somewhere, here is what I will do. I will look at my schedule and make my decision about how I can and want to allocate my time, and then, with all due haste and as little drama as possible, I will tell you: “Yes, I can come to the party, or help you paint that room, or visit you in the hospital. When should I be there and what can I bring?” Or, “No, I can’t be there, I’m sorry, but what else can I do to help?”

 And then, my friends, I will shut up about it.

 So you can have some more time to tell me about how crazy, crazy busy you are.