I am now going to make a shocking confession, and the confession is this:
I am not particularly busy.
My husband is out of town; my one child still living at home is occupied with her over-scheduled 17-year-old life. I tried to make plans for the weekend with friends; but they are mostly....busy. Which I, at the moment, am not.
I’ve caught up on my work. I’ve even caught up on the laundry. I brought the empty egg cartons back to the farmer’s market. I mailed the shoes that didn’t fit back to ShoeBuy.
I’ve cooked all the veggies in this week’s farm share, only four days into the week. So I have nothing to preserve, pickle, or puree. Serves me right for being a model of efficiency: yesterday for dinner I hatched a menu that used, in alphabetical order: arugula, cabbage, carrots, garlic, kale, radishes, scallions.
I have alphabetized the vegetables.
Here's how bad things are: I cleaned my desk.
It is a new experience for me, this not-busy-ness. For 22 years I've been a mom with a full-time job and a bunch of time-consuming hobbies and volunteer commitments, plus certain obsessive tendencies that lead me to do things like bake all the family's bread. I have spent so much of the past two decades running from airplanes to meetings to high school band concerts and the like that this quiet is truly jarring.
Look at that last paragraph: I clearly feel the need to tell you how busy I usually am! Amazing how hard it is to 'fess up to free time. There are so many other things that would be easier to disclose! For example:
- I was a serial shoplifter as a teenager
- Bill Cosby made unwanted sexual advances to me in 1973
- I am a man trapped in a woman's body
- I am a woman trapped in a man's body
None of these happens to be true. But I can write these words, in bold HTML for all to see, without the slightest twinge of discomfort. And I know that if I were to make a public confession of anything on this list, I would be lauded for my bravery in coming forward and comforted by the sympathetic clucking of those who have been there themselves.
But to confess to not being busy! That is truly a source of shame. Busy people are needed! They are important! So if I am not busy....hmmmmm.
And there is fear in this confession, as well. If I cop to not being overbooked, then people will expect me to do things that I truly do not want to do. If I have time on my hands, why don't I spend it canvassing the neighborhood on behalf of a worthy progressive candidate for the Board of Aldermen? Why don't I rake the leaves out of my driveway in a more timely way, since they are blowing into my neighbor's yard? Or--God forbid!--why don't I finally run a bake sale for the PTO?
Shame, fear -- here's what all of this means about contemporary society....oh, good grief, would you look at the time?! I'm so sorry -- I'd love to stick around and discuss this topic, but the grocery store closes in only five hours! And then, there are napkins to iron.