I’m busy, busy, dreadfully busy
You’ve no idea of what I have to do
Busy, busy, shockingly busy
I am too busy for you.
These words are sung by characters in a modern day retelling of the Good Samaritan by the Veggie Tales. In the Veggie Tales version the victim falls head-first into a hole and just needs someone to pull him out. The passers-by recognise his predicament and sympathise, but they are too busy to help –an apt parable for modern times.
This article in the New York Times sums it up pretty well and rebukes me. Being busy is a “boast disguised as a complaint”. And in these times of economic hardship we prefer it to the alternative. We seek to be busy getting involved in things to keep busy. We worry what we would do without it.
In university life it seems that we are busier than ever. Not being busy is a moral failure. We have reached the point where anyone who gives any hint of not being busy is not pulling their weight. We take on extra work and get involved in anything that is going on. We must be there. How could the workplace function without me?
I am a latecomer to the Smartphone generation but since I got my Blackberry I’m checking email from work every time I pick up the phone. I check twitter when I wake up and before I go to bed. I reason that twitter is a good way of checking is there is anything in the news I need to be aware of and my fellow HE tweeps will help me there. I have to fight the guilt the feel when not ‘working’ on one another of my projects, whether its spending time with my kids or watching some TV with my wife after the children have gone to bed. Is twitter really work? It sure keeps me busy.
The New York Times blogger observes that people in minimum wage job aren’t busy—they are tired. I should know this. I am busier than ever, but am I working harder than ever? After my A-levels I worked for three months in an aluminium extruding plant working day, evening and night shifts. Some of the guys (they were all guys) were working 12 hours shifts with chemicals, extreme temperatures, jagged pieces of metal and in the case of the presses levels of noise I’ve not heard since. Those guys weren’t busy, but they worked really hard –many had been there over 25 years. This really is the case for millions of people in the UK and millions of others would like the opportunity to work hard.
I resolve to find a better word than ‘busy’ to describe my life.