Busy, Busy

 

 beforeFiles of a BPIW.

 Do you know any busy people? Are you one of them?

Here’s my pet peeve: people who are busier than you, no matter what. They’re the people who can force you into exaggerating your own busyness just not to lose the busy battle. Or maybe I’m the only one who responds that way when someone tries to convince me that he’s the busiest person in the world (BPIW).

My father used to say: he’s the kind of guy, if you’ve got a bottle, he’s got a case.

That translates nicely into what I mean.

You can have two jobs, multiple deadlines, seven children, and a marathon to run, but BIPW will best you every time. “I’m doing all that, AND I’m expected in New Zealand any minute,” she’ll say. To which I’m tempted to respond, “I just got back from there and I’m packing for Greenland where I have to make a speech to the entire population.”

It’s not that I have to fake being busy. I teach an online science class (25+ students for 16 weeks) and several in-person writing workshops. I facilitate a couple of book clubs, fiction and nonfiction. Then there are my writing deadlines. I have three contracted books due in the next few months and a WIP with another writer. I keep my miniatures hobby going in several ways, including furnishing a dollhouse for a school raffle. Throw in a family, participation in writers’ organizations, assorted volunteer work, and a semblance of social life – see? I’m busy, too!

BPIWs usually miss no chance to remind you that they are working stiffs, Christmas Eve or not. Of course you’re working — if you have a job that requires any kind of creativity, you’re always working. You don’t have to remind us, as if the rest of us take off at 5 on Friday and frolic in the pool all weekend.

I never like myself when I get into this mode of claiming to be a BPIW. It makes me tense about my life and my projects. I’d rather take it easy and think how lucky I am to have many things to do, instead of trying to impress people with my to-do list.

I had a colleague once who was a BPIW and also a S-SM (self-sacrificing mother). If I came into the office with a new jacket, she’d moan about how she’d love a new jacket, but she had to feed her children. If I mentioned a movie I saw, she’d complain that she hasn’t had time for a movie since her twins were born. The only way I got her to stop was to confront her with, “Gee, BPIW, you make me very happy I never had children. I’m so sorry you weren’t so lucky.”

Here’s a paraphrase of one of my favorite cartoons: God is on a cell phone, saying “I’m sorry, I can’t. I have to be everywhere.”

Now, that’s busy.

 

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8 Responses

  1. I love that God comment! And relate to your busy, busy competition. I always feel like a fool when I outline my current “busy-ness” on my ten fingers. And some polydactyl will stick up two more fingers to outdo me. But talking about “busy” exhausts me, and I’m trying to get through each day without thinking about it. Or writing about it.
    Anyway, a fun, if frustrating topic! Good luck, Camille, and take a nap when you can. You really ARE BUSY!

  2. Polydactyl, ha ha!
    My husband came up with a great metaphor. He said to me: “You have too much on your plate, and you’re old, your plate is smaller than it used to be.”
    I paid no attention, since he takes too many naps!

  3. I am impressed by your many endeavors, and I’m happy to concede the busyness to you. A year ago, when I retired I took off my watch and switched to a month-at-a-glance calendar because I refuse to schedule every minute anymore. The transition was tough, I admit. For now, writing, traveling, sitting on the back deck with a glass of wine and watching the local fauna eat the garden flora are busyness enough.

  4. Camille you forgot to mention miniature shows that you have to attend. I was so happy to meet you in person at Good Sam.

  5. Same here, April! That was a great day, surrounded by such talent as yours. I love that showcase.

  6. I like the smaller plate analogy.When I complain about my schedule, my friend says, “And who controls your schedule?” Very good point.

  7. I hate when friends remind me of that, Janet!

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