One of the advantages of having an e-column is that once in a while, I get to rant. This is such an occasion.
Seems every time I ask someone how they are doing they answer, “Busy, you?”
I think it’s a given that we are all swept up in the relentless pace of modern-day life, but I wonder if that is what is defining us, the busyness, instead of what we are busy with?
I hear things like, “I am slammed at work,” or “swamped,” or my current favorite, “underwater.” None of these seem to refer to a joyful work-life balance, but I understand we shouldn’t judge others.
I asked some friends out to dinner, and they started listing all the times they were not available and all the fabulous activities they had planned. Yes, I admit it was a jam-packed schedule, but their monologue didn’t address my original question. We eventually agreed to an early-evening supper 2 months out. It was a very enjoyable occasion; however, I don’t think I needed to know all the details it took to get there.
I offered an acquaintance, a friend of a friend, some hostas from my yard. (I was separating them, and she had a new house in need of plants.) She agreed to a tentative time to come by and get them, but somehow, it just didn’t work out for her. The next attempt, she texted me a proposed time and canceled it 15 minutes later. On our final attempt, I got a text saying something had come up at work and she would be about an hour late. I replied, “Frankly my dear,” and haven’t heard from her since.
The next time someone asks me how I am doing, I am going to relate one joyous thing in my life and ask them to do the same. Maybe that will start the conversation on the right foot. I will come up with some better suggestions when I have a spare moment
By the way, I intentionally made this column shorter than usual, so that I could give you back a minute of your life. Please put it to good use.
Patrick Harness is a community liaison with a long history of experience in health insurance. If you ask him to pick a color, he always chooses orange, and he is known for his inability to parallel park.