Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Because we feel all smug and superior that we haven't overscheduled our lives as much as other people (well, a few--yeah, there are some--okay, at least one or two families we know), the kids and I often sing a few lines of Kevin Kline's Gilbert and Sullivan-inspired "Busy Busy Busy" (from Sandra Boynton's Philadelphia Chickens) when other people are too busy to see us:

"Oh, we're very, very busy and we've got a lot to do
and we haven't got a minute to explain it all to you
for on Sunday Monday Tuesday there are people we must see
and on Wednesday Thursday Friday we're as busy as can be
with our most important meetings and our most important calls
and we have to do so many things and post them on the walls."

At the end of the song we sing, gleefully:
"We have to hurry far away
and then we hurry near
and we have to hurry everywhere
and be both there and here
and we have to send out messages
by e-mail, phone and fax
and we're talking every minute
and we really can't relax
and we think there is a reason
to be running neck-and-neck
and it must be quite important
but we don't have time to check!"

This is my busiest time of the year, as far as the work I get paid for goes. And that means I can't make as much time to read. I read shorter things, because I'm trying not to get caught up in anything that would keep me from working on my stack of papers that still need to be graded. This is a very real possibility, for me. I'm the only person I know who has ever been forbidden to go to the library. It was when I was in third grade. My third grade teacher and my parents had a meeting with the school librarian and told her that I was not allowed to even come into the library. They thought it was the only way to keep me from reading through all my other classes. I just thought it was cruel, and so determined not to give anyone the satisfaction of thinking that forbidding me to read would make me pay attention to any other school subject. I guess I showed them; to this day, I still don't know the multiplication tables, which is more of an inconvenience than I might have predicted. But I get around it.

At any rate, I'm only reading short things (mostly poetry) and trying to be calm during the day, instead of like a "busy busy busy" adult, who will
"have to do it faster
or it never will be done
and we have no time for listening
or anything that's fun."

But sometimes I still have those early morning sleepless periods when I've saved up all my worries. You know, the worry that people are telling you they're busy because they don't want to see you. The worry that you've dropped one of the balls you're supposed to be juggling. The worries about politics and the economy and religion and whether you should have gone ahead and gotten the roof fixed, like in the poem "Things" by Fleur Adcock:

There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
there are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.

There are certainly worse things than politics this morning. I'm surprised and pleased to read that Christopher Buckley, author of Boomsday and son of the National Review founder William Buckley, has endorsed Obama. Because I have time to read the newspaper. Yes, I do SO have time. Do you?

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