The busy-ness world

Wall Street workers: Will relate to this blog.

So I’m going to blog about being busy all the time.

For months, I promised myself I wouldn’t write one of those self-reflexive blogs for one simple reason: I hate reading them. No matter how witty, talented and the intelligent the author is, they nearly always seem like egotistical, self-indulgent and (worst of all) boring rants.

So why did I decide to undertake the unthinkable? Well, there are several reasons, most of them pretentious: boredom, the lack of things to write about, sheer unbridled narcissism. However, in my defence, there’s nothing like a good vent. And if I don’t engage in said narcissism online, I fear I may do so in print.

Have you ever seen Federico Fellini’s 8½? Thought not. Basically, there’s a scene where the film director protagonist is surrounded by an array of people vehemently questioning him and trying to get his attention. The scene is played in nightmarish fashion. That’s sort of like my life and in particular, my email inbox at the moment. To suggest the past few weeks have been chaotic would – on a no-shit-Sherlock-scale of 1-10 – be like saying Charlie Sheen isn’t the most stable of characters.

Being busy has its pros and cons. For instance: ‘Oh hi old friend (who has invited me to their birthday despite my not having seen them for the past five years), I really would love to attend and spend the night awkwardly conversing with a bunch of strangers, but I’m working tonight.’

On the other hand, there was the night when Rambo was on and I didn’t get time to watch it, or even tape it, on account of my never-ending workload. Even more tragic was the time Rambo 2 was on.  

Another virtuous side-effect of busy-ness is that it usually stops you from asking yourselves questions such as whether what you’re doing is worthwhile. And if what you’re doing isn’t worthwhile, you’re busy-ness at least makes you less inclined to dwell on this thought.

Oz: The best TV show you'll never see.

But sadly, perpetually being occupied usually makes you a less interesting person.  For instance, questions such as: ‘Seen any interesting films?’ ‘Read any good books?’ ‘Been following the football?’ or ‘Written any blogs worth reading?’ are all answered with a negative by busy people. Therefore, on the rare occasions when busy people do return to normal society, all they can talk about with any vague vestige of passion is their work. And unless they’re Tom Cruise or their work entails being within the vicinity of Tom Cruise, then what they discuss will inevitably seem tedious to those intent on dissecting the latest Lady Gaga single.

Forgive me for throwing in another obscure frame of reference, but the matter is exemplified by an excellent TV show named Oz (a programme so excellent that I still have yet to encounter a fellow avid fan, nonetheless I will determinedly continue to mention it whenever I can until people finally start watching the bloody show).

Anyhow, in Oz, the protagonist (McManus) is idealistic, fiercely intelligent and quite good at his job as manager of Emerald City – the notorious prison in which the show is set. However, he randomly appears on a TV game show at one point and is subsequently humiliated, as his lack of general knowledge causes him to perform poorly. The point is that the obsessive attention he devotes to his job renders him boring.

So how do you cure the dreaded symptom of busy-ness? Well, one solution is to quit working and go on the dole. Income may be a problem, but at least you’ll have time to catch up on the latest must-hear bands or refine your dinner party anecdotes.

Personally though, I’d take busy-ness over boredom any day. After all, busy-ness alleviates your own boredom, whereas having nothing to do but watch TV shows ultimately enhances it. And also, being busy does not necessarily stop you from listening to bands you loved during teenagehood – a mandatory, prolonged bout of boredom that everyone must experience.

And if you never listened to music extensively as a teenager, then just listen to Girl Talk – music for people with OCD and others prone to boredom according to critics.

Or watch Badlands – better than Apocalypse Now according to Martin Sheen, who starred in both.

Or read David Foster Wallace – the best writer of the past 20 years according to yours truly (and especially ‘Shipping Out’).

http://harpers.org/archive/2008/09/hbc-90003557

Engaging in any of these activities will render boredom a thing of the past, no matter how infrequently you get the opportunity to do so.

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