Look busy


I am harried.

I run through the halls then walk right back,

a line of semi-boisterous children in tow.

Let’s go, I tell them.

We’re losing our PE time.


We always make it to our destination

sooner or later.


I am frazzled

because the tech won’t work

the way I need it to

right this moment.

I am in a hurry and

have no time for this nonsense,


Why won’t this work??


And I am blind to the simplest solution:

to press home, pull up the bottom menu

Mirror air-play go

All there.

It’s fine

but I am not.


Because I had to ask a stupid question

to get a simple answer

and felt silly and helpless and dependent

and I hated that part.

But the tech works now

so there’s that.


In my other cognitive life

the writing that remains undone

keeps poking me at night

annoyed that so little of what appeared to be

so much

has materialized on a page of some sort.

There are plans and ideas and publications

all lying fallow

while I sweep, drag or push myself forward

and back and over.


At some point I fall asleep and pass on the dream option.


As I rush to and fro

from one engagement to the next

My attention remains divided

and scattered yet functional enough

to manage a day to day

that suggests logic and planning

of one kind or another.


While I hold up this appearance

I talk to students,

chat with colleagues,

return calls.

I look busy.


I’m pretty good

at looking busy.


I could be better

at doing less

at slowing down

at breathing deeply

at being human.









2 thoughts on “Look busy

  1. “It’s fine
    but I am not.”

    Oh, that’s going to stick with me. I feel like I work hard to help people who feel like they have stupid questions. Because they have interesting desires and insightful search strategies (even when wrong). I hear I’m pretty good at it.

    But I only get to be good at it if they can get over that little internal voice that “felt silly and helpless and dependent”, and just ask me. Which is hard for lots of reasons.

    Including the fact that I am also pretty good at looking busy.

    1. Thank so much for this thoughtful response. I’m glad this piece resonated. Fear of appearing and sounding stupid keeps many of us from getting smarter, becoming better informed and more connected. Maybe this is one of the biggest binds in learning – overcoming fears like these, again and again.

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