That Time You Gave Crazy the Brush Off -- Before you hit reply, consider this.
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
I am the guiltiest of my latest biggest pet peeve.
It starts with something as simple as this text: “Wanna get drinks next Friday at Hot Tin?”
I see said text. I think that I would love to get drinks next Friday because I haven’t seen you in ages and rooftop bars with cozy lounges are my jam. But I don’t reply. I put my phone down and say nothing. I haven’t even determined my survival expectancy of today, let alone next Friday. I go about my business for the next week, and on occasion think, “Crap! I haven’t answered about drinks. I really need to do that.” And yet I still don’t reply. I let the invitation fester until the friend who invited me texts again, maybe even the night before the drinks in question, “Hey! Are we on for tomorrow night?”
I have to answer at this point because if I don’t, I will look like the biggest jerk. So I type the standby response that covers all bases.
“OMG! Yes! We’re on! So sorry I’m just now getting back to you. It’s been sooo crazy.”
There it is. “It’s been so crazy.” It's the new polite brush off, the accepted form of not having to explain a damn thing.
I have always run a chronic crazy operation. In school I perpetually left papers and presentations to the very last second. And, because I nailed it enough times, I determined why break a cycle that works? Although slightly more responsible, my “crazy” lives on, like recently when I hopped in my car and started the GPS as I departed for a wedding – having assumed the entire six weeks since receiving the invitation that Stella Plantation is only 45 minutes away. In reality it’s an hour. So I was that guest who kissed the bride on my way in as she was prepping to go down the aisle. And of course, I whispered in her ear, “Oh my gosh! It’s been such a crazy morning! But that dress? Gorge!” I have no excuse for this other than I am a breathing disaster of a myriad of life hassles and mishaps that I try to make acceptable with crazy.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and presume that you’re a little crazy too. So, guilty as charged, I feel that I have the right to say the following: Y’all, we’re a walking shit show of passive aggressiveness and it’s time we get it together.
“It’s been so crazy,” and its kin, “It must have gone to my junk mail,” are the new answering machine screen, but on steroids, and they are overstepping sincerity. Think about it. Has it really been “crazy?” Or are we overwhelmed with classes, deadlines, clutter, laundry, or the 15 freaking notifications buzzing every hour? Maybe we’re overcommitted because of the holidays. That doesn’t sound crazy. That’s normal.
So why are we afraid to tell it like it is?
The truth is I’d love to have drinks every Friday, but I didn’t reply sooner because I was more worried that I’d be exhausted from “crazy” and end up bailing. Then I’d really be a crappy friend. But wasn’t it equally crappy to give the polite brush off? I traded vulnerability for crazy. I didn’t offer the opportunity to be understood. There aren’t enough emojis to hide that kind of rudeness.
So what if we brush off “crazy” instead of people? What if I said, “Can I let you know later? I have a busy week and may just want to chill.”
If you’re a perpetual people pleaser (guilty!), you might worry that that level of honesty would hurt feelings. True, admitting you’d rather drink cheap wine and watch Hallmark than go to a boujie bar might initially sting someone. However, I can’t name a single person who hasn’t needed a night to just chill. My friend might feel jilted, but I have to give her the benefit of the doubt instead of undermining the sincerity of our friendship.
I know enough to know that I will drop the ball at least three more times today alone. And I will ignore your text another day because I was so stressed from normalcy masking as crazy that thinking about answering a simple question made me immediately tired. We deserve better.
So what if we take two seconds for sincerity and reply, “I don’t know. I’m overwhelmed right now.” What if we invite people into our crazy? We’re really just trying to survive a world that’s crazy and more distracting than ever. If we’re honest, we just might get an “OMG! Me too!” in return.
Imagine how more meaningful drinks would be when we make that sincerity a double! Imagine the relief when “crazy” doesn’t get the last word.
Originally published in New Orleans Magazine online.