Alright, I’m going to dedicate my first actual post to the three words & one contraction that I have learned to dread from my childhood. It’s a phrase I have taken care to avoid in my youth as it has only ever led to harsh feelings & arguments. I am speaking, of course, of my parent’s infamous slogan:
“Since you’re not busy.”
I heard it time & again as a child & heard it again, three days after moving in with them. It’s really the sentiment behind the phrase that boils the blood, that & the timing of it. “Since you’re not busy,” is only heard on two occasions.
The first, & most common occasion, is when you are flush with actual work that you are trying to accomplish. When I was 20 I moved out of my parent’s house for the first time. The move was timed to occur directly after finals. It was the last time I heard the phrase “since you’re not busy,” come out of their mouth. No, that’s not true, it was the last time I heard the phrase when I couldn’t just hang up the telephone.
I used to hang up on my parents a lot. In fact, I had a mental list of phrases that caused me to instantly hang up on them. “Since you’re not busy,” was certainly one of them. Others were the infamous, “well you weren’t being clear,” always stated after the parental unit asked me the same question I had just finished answering, it meant that they had not paid attention & were pushing the blame off on me. “You should have prepared for it,” just pisses me off, as it generally caused a fight, usually over the holidays. “You should have prepared for it.,” is by far the worst, as it Always means that they are adding on a new task, of little significance, that they want completed immediately & is inevitably in the entire opposite direction of the far more important task I am already on your way to do.
These statements & others, resulted in me immediately hanging up the phone. It sounds cruel, but family, especially parents, often force me to be more depraved, insolent, & flat out rude than I would ever be in public. Parents force you to be the worst you that you can possibly be. This is why all of us have at one point in time or another uttered the phrase: “I’m never doing that to my children.”
“Since you’re not busy.” is only said on one of two occasions. The first, & most common, is while writing the ten-page final for my Marxist Theory class. Sure, I’m not ALWAYS writing that same final, but you get the picture. The statement is NEVER used when I am kicking back & watching TV. Oh no,certainly not. That phrase is reserved for use only when I am clearly incredibly busy & any statement to the contrary, no matter how it is phrased is countered with “so you are just going to be lazy today,” or, my favorite, “that’s you’re problem, no one can ask you to help without getting an attitude.”
The other, far more rare, time that it is used is after I have tried my best to avoid it. Being in the state that I am in, the first thing I say when I step out of the shower in the morning is: “Can I do anything?” In this case, the phrase “since you’re not busy” follows “no, not today,” and then is put on pause until I make my morning coffee, fill my cup, & start about the humiliating job application process.
Then & only then, after I have made sure that there is absolutely nothing I can do to ease the burden of mu presence in their house, only after I have made my coffee, & at the exact moment sit my ass down in my seat, right before my lips touch cup, that’s when they drop “since you’re not busy” on me. Like always, it involves a task that can really be completed at any other time, MUST be completed that instant & is guaranteed to be long enough to assure that the coffee is ice cold by the time I get a chance to take my first sip.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am very happy my parents allowed my college educated ass to move into their basement & avoid living on the streets of Chicago while I try to find a new job. I am very happy they love me enough to protect me, even as an adult, from pan-handling, & I do return that love, But that doesn’t mean they don’t know the exact buttons to push & push them with glee.
“Since you’re not busy,” is certainly one of the biggest buttons I have, mainly because of the attitude behind the statement. It implies both that they do not care that I am writing my Marxist Theory final, & that maintaining my 4.0 while working two jobs is not nearly as important as ironing a crease into 30 plus pairs of my mother’s jeans.
Who the fuck puts a crease in their jeans?