I’m tired of other people’s busy….
I have a friend, or rather, I know a person who used to ask me how my day was. It was more a matter of circumstance than fate, similar locations, similar work, lots of jokes. He’s a pretty good guy, it’s just that he never stops talking about all of the things he’s doing. I guess he used to do that when we spent more time together, but I suppose it was preferable to the incessant silence of stupid work references and bitching about the lack of lunch choices. I’m not really sure why we kept in touch other than we both got divorced around the same time, and that I had a phone number that people don’t easily forget. About once every month, he calls me and then goes on for thirty or forty minutes about how busy he is, and how little time there is to enjoy the things he enjoys doing. Invariably, his voice gets tired, and he stops long enough for me to think about what it was that I do, and how I have absolutely no desire to talk about it. The thing I find most aggravating, however, is that I’m actually busier than he is, and it’s for stuff that I hate doing. Part of me wants to stop him cold and tell him he’s full of crap, and not very interesting, but then I remember, at least he calls me back.
The worst type of busy person is the one who uses their busy-ness to pull rank on you and tries to make their stupid existence the reason they haven’t returned your fourth phone call. Usually they’ll leave a message on a platform that they know you don’t use regularly. If you never answer your cell phone, they’ll leave it there. If you have an email that you only use for spam, they’ll send it there. If you’re blind and use braille, they’ll hand write you a note and slip it under your door. All of these messages are the same and can be broken down into three areas.
1. I am very, very sorry that I am busier than you and therefore could not return your call.
2. I am going to be even busier over the next several months, so the chances of me talking to you are absolutely zero, exculpating them from any guilt.
3. Something funny about how you never talk.
I don’t doubt that they actually have something stupid to do every day, but the truth of the matter is that no one is EVER that busy. Unless you are an astronaut doing Apollo 13 recreation marathons, you absolutely have time to communicate with me, no matter how boring or stupid you think I am. The truth is that you and I probably don’t get along anymore, and rather than confront the fact that our lives have grown apart, it’s easier to hide behind some Gannt chart of things a mouse has to do before it dies. The difficult choice is for you to establish a clean break and remove me from whatever friend list you’ve built for yourself on the internet to make yourself feel better about becoming a complete prick.
As an American, it was really hard for me to come to this realization. By nature, Americans always feel as though we need to be doing something, and doing it with other people in mind. We don’t actually want to talk to those people, but it makes us feel better if there’s a consensus regarding our goings on. Do you know who does not want to fill their entire day with meaningless menagerie and tripe… the French. Sure, they love their gutsy spectacles, but they refuse to be defined by it. A Frenchman is happiest when he has nothing to do at all, and can enjoy the quiet that it brings to his life. What little he does do during the day, makes the relaxation afterwards special. More importantly, it gives him time to notice how stupid all of us busy people are.
What is it exactly that we get for all of our activity? Unfortunately it’s the guilt to surmise that we are not active enough. It’s kind of like jumping out of a two story window, and then feeling bad because your next door neighbor feels bad that he only jumped out of a three story window. Then there’s those assholes who only jump out of the first story windows, but keep running up the stairs as fast at they can, so that they can brag about how many stories they jumped out of that day. Can we all just decide that it might be better if we looked out of the window instead, and stopped trying to land on top of each other at the bottom? Who knows, maybe we’ll have time to appreciate the things we see outside of it, rather than bitch about how many times we have to open it to avoid talking to one another.