I’ve been guilty of it in the past, and will be again. So have you. We’ve been “busy,” that four-letter word that really ought to be considered a four-letter word. Such a convenient little catch-all term, isn’t it? It’s a totally plausible concept in our fast-forward society to be capital-b Busy, plus it’s one of those claims that’s highly effective in not inviting further investigation from the blown-off party. Regardless of when or how you invoke the b-word, there’s always an element of truth to the statement… for a given value of “true.” Here are some examples to illustrate:
Maintaining friendships is hard. So instead of trying to figure out where things are at with an old high school friend that I’ve lost touch with once or twice, I’ll just focus on creating origami designs on company time and posting them on Facebook. Check out this awesome array of paper TIE fighters at my workstation. Yeah, workstation—I am clearly hella busy! It’s cool, though—in six or seven months I’ll drop my buddy an email bemoaning how long it’s been, and then not reply to their response. That oughta work. Yep, friendship is definitely hard.
One word: humblebragging. Life isn’t complicated enough as it is; we must, simply must, turn everything into a friggin’ status contest as well. So let me regale you through breathless monologuing how high-powered and important I am! Oh em gee, so on top of my 50+ hours at work this week, I’ve got this dinner, and some club stuff, and a bunch of work dates! How crazy is that? (This often translates into two actual club meetings and going out for Chinese with a coworker, where shop talk and gossip are the sole topics of conversation. The rest of the “crazy” week is couch time with Ben & Jerry while marathoning Walking Dead.)
Oh sweetie, the thing is, I kinda perceive myself as just a little bit better than you. So let’s not embarrass ourselves, okay honey? Just accept that I’m “busy” until you catch a clue and disengage from my frequency. Have I mentioned I’m busy? Gotta go—so busy!
Sometimes, though, it’s not an illusion. It is possible to genuinely overcommit yourself, and it can be hard to tell when you’re doing it. There’s this societal gestalt that lets us think doing four things at once is being all crazy-productive and shit, but the reality is that the resulting quality of those things is usually pretty meh. And if you’ve ever been behind one of those dumb jagoffs who’s very obviously texting while they’re driving, you’ve seen firsthand that some kinds of multitasking really do not fly in real life. (If you ARE one of those dumb jagoffs, I look forward to being amused by the details of your fatal wreck on the news.)