The COVID Diaries: pity this busy monster, manunkind, not

Dear Darling Ones,

My intent today was to write about how much I hate being busy. I was gonna elaborate on how busy people are usually really fucking boring and how nobody wants to hear how busy you are. I wanted to say how I hope one of the things we take out of the pandemic is the ability to not be so busy all the time.

As I formulated my argument I realized how privileged I am to get to choose to not be busy. I’m able to support myself on one job that I work from home. Not everybody has that. There are people who have to be busy to stay alive. They need to work two or three jobs to support themselves. I wish they had the option to choose not to be busy too. Working full-time at any job should pay people enough that they don’t need to be busy all the time. I wish we had a guaranteed universal basic income so people could do what they wanted instead of what they have to.

So here, from my couch of privilege, I will say I hate being busy, nothing makes me crankier.* I don’t know how you busy people do it. I need a lot of time to read, to think, to tell Wendell what a fine cat he is, to daydream, and to write.

When people tell me how busy they are, I start reciting e.e. cummings poem “pity this busy monster, manunkind,” in my head. I know it by heart** because a lot of people in my demographic like to talk about their busyness. They seem to conflate busy with interesting. Busy people are the most boring to talk to. I don’t care how many meetings you have or how many activities you chose for your kids and how you need to shuttle them around for that. I do care what the last song you sang out loud was (Way Over Yonder in a Minor Key), what you had for dinner last night (a salad), and who your favorite Smurf was as a kid (Brainy).

Busy people are frequently the ones who like to be super condescending to those of us who opt out. I wish I had time to read, ring any bells? Other things people tell me they wish they had time for: cooking, writing, listening to music, and crocheting. It’s like I’m the only person on the damn planet with a hobby.

I won’t say we all have the same 24 hours in a day, because I recognize privilege allows for more choice in how to use those hours. But damn, give a slacker*** a break once in awhile. Also, maybe spend a few of your precious free minutes recognizing many of us do have a choice in busyness. It’s not my fault you choose to be super busy rather than spending time contemplating if you lived in Ancient Greek Times if you’d be a siren, a fury, or a harpy.

Probably a siren,

P.S. Do you think busy people are also morning people? This is something I need to ponder, because morning people frequently bug me too. Like I get it, you get up with the roosters and get shit done. Your ability to be productive at ass o’clock in the morning does not make me want to speak before 10 a.m.

*this is a lie. A few things that make me crankier: Donuts with glaze or sprinkles, losing the remote control when I haven’t moved off the couch, bumping my head on anything, when Wendell butts up against my hand when I’m trying to blitz emojis, and Gwen Stefani.

**I know lots of poems by heart. Not in their entirety, but enough. If you ever want to charm me you can ask me to recite one. Or give me a donut. Or just say, “hey, what do you think. . .” My lack of busyness makes me totally easy. To charm.

***I’m not a slacker, but I am GenX. So. . .

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