I am the one who is not busy. I am not Zen, am not ‘one with the universe,’ am not content, not centered, I am just not busy. I don’t need to meditate because everyday includes hours and hours of deep silence and contemplative solitude. Which does not mellow me out, give me intuition or help me achieve spiritual purity. It makes me slightly cranky.
I am the person who remembers birthdays, because I have no reason to be too busy to forget. I actually write postcards while I am on vacation. Christmas cards sent the first week of December. I am the one who arrives at the meeting on time, with a printed copy of the agenda and two sharpened pencils that you want to poke in my eyes as you dash in ten minutes late, no agenda and there is nothing left on the ‘snacks plate’ but a small muffin that looks like it was made from wood shavings. My spices are arranged alphabetically and my clothes are on color-coordinated hangers. I am the one who can always take you to the airport because a trip to the airport would be a nice break in my routine of sitting on the sofa and staring at the walls.
Other people pray for an hour of uninterrupted sofa-sitting, i.e. normal people. Those people have hit the Black Hole/‘no-escape’ gravitational pull of a family large enough to supply births, birthdays, weddings, graduations, and anniversaries for every weekend of the year. There must be some kind of mathematical formula to figure out the number of siblings and cousins who would supply you with all your social needs. The Super-glue Theory of Family Solidarity – how many relatives do you need to create a self-perpetuating social machine?
I don’t think of myself as particularly unpleasant or unfriendly yet I know that people like me in books are usually end in some terrible, lonely catastrophe or get rescued by sensitive yet manly gardeners met by chance. It depends if you are reading literature or romance.
I have excuses, of course I have excuses. I have moved around a lot, so my social network is spread out. Then there is the issue that to have lots of friends might mean, at some point, having to get up early in the morning or physical exercise. I am occasionally invited by acquaintances to go for sunrise swims or a hike. A hike. You might as well ask an alligator to waltz. A hike, as far as I can tell, would involve movement. Movement, to be precise, in nature, which would mean without air conditioning. This would, of necessity, increase the risk of breaking a nail. And I would be bereft of tabliod magazines, not to mention snacks. And, whatever my completely delusional family thinks, “gorp” is not a snack, neither is a granola bar or a stale bagel or an apple or (saints preserve us) “some raisins.” Raisins are either bird food or punishment for bad behavior. Canapés on a silver tray served by a man in a spotless black waiter’s suit is a snack.
And besides the lamentable lack of snacks, hikes are fraught with dangers which are recklessly dismissed by heedless people, many of whom, by some happenstance of fate, I am said to be related to. Those without imagination say ‘a fun hike’ but we, the sensitive and gentle folk, can well imagine the horrors of mosquito bites, blisters, sunburn, leeches, sprained ankles, wrecked pedicures, split ends and smeared mascara.
I humbly accept my lot as one of the vital balances of the universe, the still center which is a counterweight to those harried thousands streaming into Starbucks asking for triple espressos as they juggle Blackberry, i-whatever, gymbag and laptop.
So I will be here, safe on the sofa, waiting for your call.