“Let me gel my hair to start on these emails!”
“Yeah, my pants are all in the laundry.”
“Are we all still going tanning later?”
“This smile? No it’s my real smile! I love Microsoft Office.”

 

 

 

 

I work from home, or as people who haven’t worked from home say, “you get to work from home?! Ohh awesome! You’re the best person I know!” And they celebrate like I’ve hit the powerball.

I thought like this too: I get to work from home! I’ll be able to write—probably have like three books published after a couple years! I’ll become really good at guitar—prob be like Jimmy frickin’ Hendrix on that thing! Might even learn it left-handed just for kicks! I’ll get into the stock market—wherever it is. I’ll do some painting. Of course I’ll work. …But I’ve got all this time on my hands! The possibilities are endless!

I’ll tell you what I’m not planning on doing: talking to myself. Talking to the walls. Listening to my carpet. Trying to figure out where the factory noises and voices in my apartment are coming from by pressing my ears against our exposed brick walls. Yes, ladies, I did say exposed brick. And It’s [pauses and stares seductively] colder than planet Hoth in the winters, and hotter than the fires of Mount Doom in the summers.

[eyes light up] “That’s so awesome that you work from home!”

“Mmm”

“I wish I could work from home. I did it once and loved it.

“Do it every day. It’ll drive you…insane!” [Throws ninja dust on the ground and ninja-disappears in a cloud of smoke.]

“You can only do so many loads of laundry to feel like you’re really sticking it to the man.” One of my colleagues who worked from home told this to me, and I didn’t believe her until I tried it for myself. She’s right—turns out “so many” is twelve loads. Think of all the household chores you can do! So many! How many will you do? None. Because you have work for your job to do, remember? And you’ll feel guilty. Oh the guilt. You also don’t want to feel like you’re being taken advantage of because you’re the roommate who works from home.

“If I worked from home, I’d go to the gym a lot.” Good for you. I bet you’d learn a few new languages and become a scientist and take night classes. I’ve got a lot of things I’m going to do. Sleeping in is one of them. Not leaving the apartment for a whole day and then realizing it and laughing, but on the inside feeling like I’m losing at life is another. Constantly wondering if you’re doing enough work, if you’ve put in enough time, if that damn sliding-door sound in the wall is going to go away anytime soon! [Walks to the wall, presses ear against it. Taps finger on cold brick. Whispers, “Hello?” Pause. “Who are you?” Pause. “What are you?”]

I don’t have to dress up to go to work! HA! You rat-racers. You penguin-suited pieces of—what?! You don’t have to dress up either? Wait, you work and talk with real humans? Yeah, but I can go to coffee shops. I bet I’ll make so many friends doing that. How? I bet it will happen naturally. I’ll walk in, start talking to strangers, and we’ll keep going to the same place, and, and, and.. One year later. [Sitting alone at a cafe. Furiously typing on laptop. Talking to chairs. Listening to walls. Laughing to self.]

Oh I know, I can make lunch! Can you do that? Didn’t think so. Not many people can make their own lunch. Idiots. Also! Also! I have my bathroom right there. So If I’m unsure if my food has expired, I can do the ol’ trial and error: just eat it, and then wait. If I feel okay in two hours, then the food was good! If not, I’ll know. So will the ghosts. If they weren’t dead already… ewwww bathroom humor? On the blog? What has this come to? What, are you slowly losing your mind while sitting in a coffee shop eavesdropping on a conversation? Yes. Yes I am.

The grass is always, always greener. You get bored doing this, trust me. Is it nice to be able to stay inside when it’s cold and dark and sad outside? Yep. Some of you are like me, though. I’m an idea man, I thrive on enthusiasm. When you’re alone, the enthusiasm has to come from you.

Why don’t you go to one of those work stations for people who work from home? Those work stations are around $200 per month, and I can buy a medium coffee Monday-Friday for $39.00 a month. The real reason is that I don’t want to admit that I’m not good at working from home. Because that really means that I’m not a “self-starter.” Which means I’m not a “take charge” guy. Which means I’m not motivated enough. Which means I wouldn’t make a good [fill in the blank].

Whatever. This is the time to scratch itches. Wouldn’t it be great to have all this time by myself to do the things I want to? It seems not. I need structure. People. I’m glad I’m learning that now and not idealizing the life-of-solitude that so many writers dream of. “It’ll be me and my pen and the woods like Henry David Thoreau!” Henry David Thoreau had a neard—a neck-beard. Know that.

2 Comments

  1. Alissa

    SO MUCH YES. In between nannying (which isn’t much better, because it’s hard to hold conversations with someone whose English vocabulary consists entirely of the word “duck”) and seminary, I, too, worked entirely from home. And as an added dimension, I worked as a contracted copy editor, so my work schedule was dependent on whether or not there was work to be done and (if there was work) how much I felt like doing. Sometimes it was great; sometimes it was completely and utterly soul-killing to spend so much time alone with my computer…and this from a blazing introvert! I also managed to accomplish virtually nothing I aspired to accomplish during that time (except finally win 2048, because the Internet is SO CLOSE BY when you work on your computer). So yeah, everything about this is absolutely true.

    Reply
    • Bart

      Glad you can relate, Alissa. Sometimes I tell people, “when you’re done with work and you start thinking about all your life-goals, you also remember that Netflix has movies.” Then you find yourself watching a show called Arrow. Which is probably the worst acting on television. And you say, why am I watching this terrible show? And then you finish season one, and think, “I watched all that?”, and then you start season two and you buy a green hood and green eye-shadow and start running around rooftops.

      Reply

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