UNITED STATES—A Nigerian gentleman in Mid-City once made the astute observation, “When people in America say they’re busy, it means they’re making money.” Take it up a notch. And you get crazy busy, it means you’re sold out to the holy hustle and your soul belongs to the top five bidders.
And when you’re crazy busy like a fox, there’s a short list of dear neglected friends, and the force required to call them up is equal to the force that moves glaciers. These are the people for whom time passes at an exaggeratedly fast space because they are no longer immediately in our crazy busy orbit. We constantly talk about getting together and never do. I recently told one of these friends, don’t worry, we’ll met at my funeral. “And don’t worry, I’ll ghost write the eulogy for you.” Only being so crazy busy they won’t be able to make it to my funeral—so crazy busy absorbed posting pictures and encomia.
That’s right, death or retirement is the only way out of crazy busy. Then maybe you come to your senses and ask why was I deluding myself all these years. And no time to smell the roses. Figuratively speaking.
Crazy busy is perpetual stimulation, denying the body the exertion it craves and needs to sleep like a baby. It’s drinking coffee to soothe the nerves.
The other day a guy in the café barely had enough composure to order a coffee, and then uttered with a puff of air, “I’ve been crazy busy.”
After the coffee came, he calmed down and started to reminisce about a tour he’d taken with backpack, and planes, trains, ships and motorcar around eleven countries in South America. “The people on Freelandia,” I don’t mention the name of the country, because I don’t want to stir up national jealousies and start a multi-national war, “they are so nice. You ask somebody directions. They’ll drop everything they are doing and walk you there. They care.”
That’s the essence of crazy busy, not dropping a thing—not dropping the electronic pacifier while absently dealing with the outer world.
“The people there are much happier. They have much less. Here people want more and more; they’re greedy for more stuff, and they buy and buy, and all they’re doing is filling emptiness.”
Yes, here we are crazy busyness 24/7, same ‘ol, same ‘ol Netflix, vaping, pay-per-view, caffeine and adrenalin dreadline-driven treadmill. The funny thing is being crazy busy constantly puts us in monstrous dehumanized spaces like the freeway, an arid cement, slightly weedy trashed zone where I constantly dear I may have to stop one day because I see a hand sticking out of a Hefty bag on the side. But maybe I’ll never see it because I’ll be mercifully crazy busy, my eyes are on the road, continually jettisoning less lucrative experience, like smelling the roses. Figuratively speaking.
I must confess: if you’d smell the roses, you’d know there’s not much to smell these days. Shakespeare oughta retool his rose metaphors and let’s scrap “come out smelling like a rose.” Sorry guys. To combat the crazy busy I walk whenever I can and do smell the roses. Except for the deep red and oranges, roses offer very little to smell these days, so maybe you’re best left crazy busy and just driving on by the roses.
In its defense, I believe crazy busy is the womb for a heck of a lot of innovation. On the other hand, crazy busy is a white line fever, constantly dismissing all that seems bottom-line irrelevant. All that negating does something to the brain and spirit; it can build backbone and be beastly, at once. Crazy busy itself is kind of fun—a radical paring away of responsibility. Hang gliding over life, a perfect mask for closet misanthropes, we’re no more responsible that a robot. The challenge is to be crazy busy and yet be a fully responsive human being at the same time.
When the traveler from Latin America left the café, I introduced myself.
“Oh yes,” he said. “We’ve met before. Several times.” Well, I guess I’ve been crazy busy.
Humorist Grady Miller is author of “Lighten Up Now,” a diet for the mind and body at amazon.com Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.