Making Hay, Not Clichés

I was laying prone on the stage at Avogadro's Number writing and trying to sip coffee without moving too much when Seymour Sharpe walked in. He pulled a chair over and sat down. "Man, you look like something the cat dragged in."

"Thanks," I said. "Just trying to stretch my back muscles."

"Too much chair-sitting," he said. "A rolling stone gathers no moss."

"Maybe not, but it gets lots of bumps and bruises," I said. "My problem could be too much stone rolling. I did a bunch of pick work trying to reroute the driveway through places the clay is compacted into cement, and moved a bunch of stones to set up a new rock garden." I felt a twinge from a muscle I never knew I had. "But I believe the soreness is from the awkward position I was in when pulling leaves out of the bottom of the pond."

"You did all that since I saw you yesterday?" asked Seymour.

"I did a little work on each," I said. "I follow the kids around the yard and am fortunate enough to have jobs to do no matter where they decide to play."

"Making hay while the sun shines is a good idea," said Seymour, "but I wouldn't say having a lot of stuff to do is fortunate."

I shrugged. "Depends on your perspective. I like staying busy."

"Idle hands are the devil's workshop," said Seymour, "but there's such a thing as staying too busy."

"What did you do," I asked, "stop at the grammar grocery and fill up at a sale of clichés?" I took another sip of coffee before continuing. "Maybe there is such a thing as being too busy, but I think most people talk themselves into being more busy than they are."

"What do you mean?" he asked. "Being busy is being busy."

"Maybe," I said. "But one of the things I'm trying now, at least at home, is to not talk about how busy I am. I read an article that said talking it up with your spouse and listing out all the things you did or need to do actually makes you feel even more busy. It makes sense so I'm trying it, except at work where if you don't 'talk' busy, they dump more jobs on you."

"I can't believe not talking about something would help," he said.

"It seems to. I'm a bit more relaxed. It probably has something to do with filling your mind with whatever it is you talk about: malicious gossip, random acts of kindness, or the endless list of things to do." I took a sip of coffee. "Life is always busy: places to go, people to meet, things to do." I spewed the cliché sarcastically. "But at least I'm not wasting valuable time pointlessly reliving all the garbage again just to brag to my wife about how bothersome my job gets occasionally."

"So I suppose you don't want to hear about all the errands I have to run today which will prevent me from staying to chew your ear off," said Seymour.

"Not really," I said, "and since you only have to do them once, why talk and make them appear twice in your life? Besides, I can't handle any more clichés. I hate to infect my thought patterns with them."

"Okay," he said. "Well I gotta go, I'm busy as a be--"

"Stop," I said. "Just leave."

He stood. "But now you won't know which animal I was going to choose. Well I got to buzz off to Beaver's market." He left.