2006.03.29 We're all CrazyBusy

Written by David Green.


When my daughter Rozee was a junior in high school, we put a lot of miles on the van looking for the perfect college. We did not go as far as Arcata, California, home of Humboldt State University, but that was Rozee’s number two choice. Had she not been accepted at Berea College, Humboldt is where she would have gone. Because I had been encouraged in high school to explore the entire United States in selecting a college, it seemed natural to me that my children would do the same.

Ben had no desire to go anywhere except Michigan State ever since he was little, but Rozee ended up six hours south, just off I-75. Whenever I lament that six-hour drive to Berea (five if you don’t stop at all) I think what our lives would be like if she had opted for Humboldt. We probably couldn’t have afforded to fly her home much and the road trip to Arcata would have been equally expensive and way more time consuming. I cringe to think how little we would have seen of her.

The week before last, I made the trek to Berea to bring Rozee back home for another in a series of never-ending dental appointments. As I traveled alone down I-75, listening to my “Latin Groove” CD, uninterrupted, with no sounds of impatience or disgust, it occurred to me that I was listening to my “Latin Groove” CD, uninterrupted, with no sounds of impatience or disgust.

Usually, when I travel with my children, any attempt to play “Mexico,” “World Lounge,” “Mozart,” and the like, meets with a chorus of loud complaint. My kids don’t cotton to my kind of music and they aren’t hesitant to express their displeasure with my eclectic selections. Sometimes I declare that everybody gets to choose whatever they want for half an hour each. Mostly, I just let them rule the roost.

I could lay down the law and say, “I’m the mom and I said so,” but usually one of them is driving and early in their driving careers, we established the “right to choose” rule in favor of the driver. He who drives, picks the music. Usually, “he” is “she” as in Rozee. Sometimes, that’s problematic. Living among southerners, she’s picked up a penchant for Country music. But her tastes are broad, and we can stand some diversity.

Other times, such as when we are listening to the radio coming home from Toledo, I insist on compromise: 93.5 FM for the oldies. There is only so much I can stand of the pop and hip hop of 92.5 before screaming in psychic pain. We can all appreciate the oldies—until the commercials come on and then even I can tolerate 92.5. 

On this solo trip to Berea, I had a surprise: the pleasure I took in Latin Groove was brief. It was over by the time I popped in Mexico. Now that I had control of the music, I missed my children, their latest mix of downloaded music, their scanty conversation, their increased poise and expertise in driving ability. How fleeting these moments, six hours—over in a flash. Eighteen years—zoom—it’s gone.

On the way home, (Rozee driving) I read her an excerpt in Real Simple magazine of Edward M. Hallowell’s new book “CrazyBusy.”

“Crazybusy,” I said. “I’ve used that phrase before.”

“Hmm, really just crazylazy,” I admitted.

“By whose standards?” Rozee asked.

“By most people’s standards,” I said.  “I just don’t get enough done.”

“Maybe your body isn’t meant to,” she offered.

“Crazybody,” I concluded, but I clung to her comment. My daughter doesn’t think I’m a lazy sot.

CrazyBusy. I looked it up on Amazon. “CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD” is the complete title. The book asks a lot of questions: “Are you too busy? Are you always running behind? Is your calendar loaded with more than you can possibly accomplish? Is it driving you crazy? You’re not alone. CrazyBusy—the modern phenomenon of brain overload—is a national epidemic.” 

Publisher’s Weekly comments on it. “BlackBerries, cell phones, and e-mail 24/7. Longer work days, escalating demands, and higher expectations at home. It all adds up to a state of constant frenzy that is sapping us of creativity, humanity, mental well-being, and the ability to focus on what truly matters.”

It sounds like a book of stop-and-smell-the-roses advice, but it always bears repeating.

“...If we want to live life fully, we do best to slow down....a person must learn how to do what matters most first. Otherwise, you bulldoze over life’s best moments. You won’t notice the little charms that adorn each day, nor will you ever transform the mundane into the extraordinary.”

Hmm. Like, maybe on my next trip to Kentucky I should listen to Country the entire way?

  – March 29, 2006
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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