Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So busy

During college, a friend worked at the only five star private restaurant in our college town, which was in the University Alumni Center. He was a bartender, and one day while scooting out before all of his chores were finished, he was called on the carpet by one of the cooks.

"Where do you think you are going?" she asked him. A very sturdy and solid woman, she took nonsense from no one.

He replied, "I have to go, I have to go to the gym, get something to eat, call my friend, and get ready for a party tonight."

"MMM hmm, you're just so busy."

"I am, sorry, I have to run," he said, with a pat on her shoulder and a smile. He was devilishly good looking, and this charming maneuver worked often.

"MR. BUSY, You can just save your smirky smile for your little college girls. I know you have to run. Run your little butt right back in the bar and finish your work."

They had a stare down. "Now GO." She outweighed him by about 200 pounds, so he went, believe it. As he scoots away, she mutters "so busy" that sounded just like this:  Sooooooooooooooooooooooo bizzzzzy.

The moral of the story: We do think we are so busy. And no doubt at times we are. The older we get, there is never a shortage of tasks. But I have a friend who can turn two errands and a trip to the grocery store into a Shakespearan tragedy.

I can fill an entire day with tasks but not critical tasks, but merely the tasks I want to do. My Dad used to get fired up at me in college when I would neglect to call him back for days. Every time I felt compelled to explain to him that I too was just. sooooo. busy.

He would advise me, in an increasingly stern voice, I did not actually know the first thing about being busy. And truly busy people make time.  I probably gave an eye roll and a shrug, convinced no one understands just how busy a sorority girl can be. Oh, such a wise young lady. From youth until now, I have heard this mantra on a never-ending loop. The truth is, the majority of the time, we certainly make time for the things we want to do. We all know it. Rarely have I missed a great event, a concert, or a friend's party because I was just so busy.

I adhered to this mantra much better during graduate school and by the time I started working, I fully embraced it. At my first office, I would listen to two of the young girls on our admin staff talk lament about why they couldn't get things done because, they too were just so busy. I thought, they have NO idea.

And when you don't have kids, people with kids try to trump you on the busy scale. And when you only have one child, people with two trump you. And so on and so on and so on. And then there are the people so unorganized they waste time simply trying to keep up with themselves.

And now, think about conversations we have with other people. Everyone is so busy, we try to out-busy one another. And being so busy is a built-in alibi. Couldn't call someone back? Soooo busy. Couldn't respond to that email? Soooo busy. Can't get together for dinner? Soooo busy. It's a choice, we all know it. And most of the time we have too much to do. But not all of the time. Maybe the obstacle is we are so busy being busy.

My BFF asked me several times last summer if I had looked into some theater tickets in NYC for our trip. The last time she asked, I told her I just couldn't get to it. She said, "Oh and the blog is writing itself I guess?" We both laughed. I looked into the tickets that day. 

And my little brother travels every single week for work. He and I get big fun out of talking about being soooooooooooo bizzzzzy. I know you just couldn't call me back but I loved all your Facebook updates. PS: You are not SOOOOOOOO bizzzy. 

The time we invest to proport about the never-ending demands on our time, our mountain of musts, our wearisome calendar, our lengthy docket of to do's, well, think of all the time we would save if we stopped doing that. 

But, it is handy whitewash if you need it, is it not? So the next time you just don't want to do something, just say, "I'd love to but I am soooooooooooo bizzzzy. "


the walking man said...

Uhhh JennyM I am retired, I write, a lot, and I am never busy. When I don't get around to something or don't want to do it I don't lie by saying I was too busy.

I simply say no. eff off. or my personal favorite "why the hell would I want to spend any amount of time much less that amount of time with or doing something like that with or for you."

Generally speaking not a lot of people ask me for my time.

Christopher said...

normally i love reading your blog but you know how it is, i loved the first couple lines if you could seriously start every post out with an outline it'd be a lot easier because this takes a lot of time

Simply Suthern said...

Ever notice how you can ask people that aint busy to help and they never have time but you can ask the busiest person to help and they always make time.

20% of the folk do 80% of the work.

Herding Cats said...

You hit a nerve with me today - but a good one! This is actually one of my biggest pet peeves. I have friends who play the "busy" card all the damn time, and it's very irritable. I truly believe you make the time for what's important.

Jenn @ Youknow...that Blog? said...

I do believe I've been called out! When you're right, well, you're right.

That gave me something to think about, my friend!

Jules AF said...

ha! "So busy" is just code for "No" in my world.

Khak said...

Love the truth in this post. Make time for what's important.

Allyson & Jere said...

Most excellent post here today. So true, TOO true unfortunately. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. People all "sympathetic" to me, asking HOW DO YOU DO IT ALL, etc. And in my mind I'm thinking...I'm not all that, or I"m not THAT busy. Shoot, i find time to read blogs, play on facebook, write blogs, etc. Why is my bathroom sink as dirty as it is? You know...soo busy! But c'mon, it IS a great sounding EXCUSE!

VEG said...

The truth of it is you know, you can be busy doing nothing! Or busy eating cake. Or busy procrastinating. In which case I am constantly busy. It's just how you spin it, man, it's just how you spin it. :)

What you really mean when you say you were too busy is, "I was too busy doing something more enjoyable to get to that task you just mentioned."

Right now I am busy drinking coke zero and thinking about cheese to do any real work.

KittyCat said...

Too funny. I make sure I get all my "bizzy" work done in one day so that during the weekend I have free time to do whatever the hell i want.
It is awesome!

brokenteepee said...

I just generally have to milk a goat.

Stephanie said...

Great post.

As you know, I only have one child. I was once told that I didn't even know what being a mother was truly like because I "only" had one.

Grand Pooba said...

I agree with Simply Suthern!

Marcy said...

I have heard you say "sooooo bizzy" so many times, and never knew where that phrase really came from. Now i know! The same place that "oh, Tootsie Roll!" came from, right? Different nights, of course. said...

Heh! You are so right, of course! (I know you'll never get tired of hearing that... I don't!) Living in a household with teenagers will very easily prove that one person's idea of "busy" is definitely not another person's.

J.J. in L.A. said...

A brother loves to say, "I want to (insert activity) but I don't have the time." I always come back with, "If you want to do it badly enough, you'd find the time."

I don't bother saying I don't have the time. I readily admit to being a procrastinator. lol!

Ed said...

Too busy to comment now.

Unknown said...

I was almost too busy to comment. lol We have to prioritize on what is busy. Good post!

Unknown said...

It's all sooooo true. Loved the "Oh and the blog is writing itself I guess." Being called out is the best sometimes.

Little Ms J said...

I am guilty of doing this... I'd like to tell you I will stop, but it is just soooooo convenient to use it as an excuse. :-)

Maria said...

Amen to that...You make time for the things that are important to you. You were right on the mark with this one, JennyMac!

Slamdunk said...

Yeah, the whole busy thing is overplayed. I don't meet too many folks who spend their weekends doing busy tasks, so I usually ignore all that talk as just trying to impress me.

ThatsBaloney said...

I barely have time to comment - because I am SO BUSY.
This is actually true. :)
If you want something done, ask a busy person. People ask me all of the time and I rarely say no (but maybe I should start).
My mom showed me a paper with her 3 things to do on it saying, "I have such a busy week!"
I looked at her and said, "I WISH that was my week!"
It's all relative, isn't it?

Carma Sez said...

I try to refrain from saying that because anyone who knows my work schedule will quickly realize I am so NOT that bizzy ;-)

Intense Guy said...

I had to sound jaded - but when I hear the "too busy" excuse, my BS meter just automatically pegs a full bag o' bleep.

The only actually too busy people I know are chaotically disorganized and do nothing to help themselves.