No 1 Front Street
If I hear it again, I’m gonna scream. “Can’t.” “Got to go.” “Sorry, I’m busy.”
“Busy, busy, busy,” what the fuck is everyone so busy doing? I wondered to myself after calling up friends to see who’d like to zoom by and head off to the downtown microbrewery, pick up a jazz quintet that was getting good reviews in the local newspaper. And plus, the place poured enough beer to last for an entire set. A good deal, if you'd asked me.
“Nah, man, I’d really like to come by, but I’m busy.”
“Sure, I’ll catch you later,” I said.
“Call me up another time, uh, maybe the end of the week? I’m really busy.”
“Talk to you later,” I said.
I was getting pissed off. What was everyone doing, and why wasn’t I doing it with them? I understand the ordinary meaning of busy. Meaning, I’ve got to reload a program on my computer, got to work late, have great tickets for tonight, or want to watch the game on TV. But this was a different kind of busy. A busy that made me edgy because it had no name. All my friends were in a state of being busy, meaning they really didn’t know why they were busy, only that they just were.
“So what are you doing tonight?” I asked. “Maybe I can join you?”
“Then how can you be busy?”
“Don’t ask so many questions, man. I just am.”
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have made a big deal about it. I’m as capable as the next guy of spending time by myself. There’s always the television, or I could do some shopping because the last time I looked in the refrigerator, which was last night, I saw a package of cheese and a jar of spaghetti sauce, and I knew I didn’t want to have that again for dinner. Plus, if I got really ambitious, I might decide to drop by the cleaners and pick up my shirts, or play a few rounds of live billiards on the computer. But I’m a caring kind of guy and something was happening to my friends. They all sounded nervous and preoccupied. Busy.
“What do you mean, busy?”
“Geez, some guys are persistent.”
“I only asked,” I said.
“I don’t know, man. I have a lot on my mind. Have you watched the news lately? I don’t know how to handle it.”
“So why don’t we go out and have a good time?”
“Let me guess,” I said. “You’re busy.” That didn’t go over big. I heard a click.
Well, I didn’t know much more than I did before. But that won’t stop me. Here's my theory about busy. There's so much going on, it's starting to implode. The hostage situation, car-bombs, fathers screwing their kids and blowing them up with guns, nuclear show-downs, kids with no schools to go to school to. Man, this shit is affecting my social life.