Taken from Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by A.K. Rosenthal
How have you been?
How was your week?
You name the question, "Busy" is the answer. Yes, yes, I know we are all terribly busy doing terribly important things. But I think more often than not, "Busy" is simply the most acceptable knee-jerk response.
Certainly there are more interesting, more original, and more accurate ways to answer the question how are you? How about: I'm hungry for a waffle; I'm envious of my best friend;...I'm itchy.
Yet, busy stands as the easiest way of summarizing all that you do and all that you are. I am busy is the short way of saying - suggesting - my time is filled, my phone does not stop ringing, and you (therefore) should think well of me.
Have people always been this busy? Did cavemen think they were busy, too? This week is crazy - I've got about ten caves to draw on. Can I meet you by the fire next week?...
As kids, our stock answer to most every question was nothing. What did you do at school today? Nothing. What's new? Nothing. Then, somewhere on the way to adulthood...we cashed in our nothing for busy.
I'm starting to think that, like youth, the word nothing is wasted on the young. Maybe we should try reintroducing it into our grown-up vernacular. Nothing. I say it a few times and I can feel myself becoming more quiet, decaffeinated. Nothing. Now I'm picturing emptiness, a white blacket, a couple ducks gliding on a still pond. Nothing. Nothing...How did we get so far from it?
-- Love - Jess