It is two o’clock in the afternoon. I am sitting at my kitchen table, looking out through the dog-nose-smeared double doors, perched on a throw pillow in sweatpants and slippers with topknot of crazy-ass hair. True, I did just come in from a brisk sunshiney stroll with the dog. And yes, I did manage to put on actual jeans (an act which now in itself excites the dog) and shoes for this cold country saunter And yes, my lungs thanked me with each long, cold breath as the sun lit up the lingering golden aspen leaves as they quivered and shivered and shook.
But two minutes back inside and those jeans were off and those slippers were back on, and here I am at the computer again.
Oh, how I love and hate working from home…
1. “Professional” Attire: I don’t need to wrangle with hose (or hoes) or high heels (okay, or for me, the equivalent hiking boots, rain gear, and backpacks). Hell, I don’t even mess with zippers and buttons. I now consistently maintain the clothing comfort level of a prisoner: nothing on me is sharp, tight, constrictive, or sexy.
2: Optional Hygiene: Look, I don’t stink. I do have standards. Of course I brush my teeth and wash my face and hands. That said, I have been blessed with a frizzbeast of hair that conveniently doesn’t need or want to be washed too frequently. In terms of brushing it… Brushing is overrated.
3: Daily Flexibility: I am the master of my own schedule. I can sleep in, work late, take the afternoon off, dance around in my skivies, make a three-course lunch, or walk the dog whenever I like. Also, I can work from wherever… the couch, the bed, the cafe, a basement in Gdansk, a coconut-laden beach, the moon, if it had wireless.
4: Commuting: It has literally been five days since I have entered a moving vehicle. And that’s not just because my car won’t start. Think of all that gas money saved! You’re welcome, Earth!
5: No Awkward Pleasantries No one sees me. During the day I mostly talk to the dog, or to myself. In bizarre hybrid accents. Because my computer is old, I can’t even Skype into editorial meetings. Instead I can only watch and listen, typing my contributions in live chat, and laughing at jokes told far away. Like a total creeper.
1. Temperature Regulation: Now that it’s all frosty, foggy mornings up in this piece, each morning offers a new struggle in self/bed ejection logistics. It’s freakin’ cold out there. And by “out there” I mean outside of the fluffy covers, in the house. We heat the whole deal solely with a semi-efficient, squat wood-burning stove in the corner. Like me, dude is sluggish, grumpy, and hungry in the morning. It takes a good hour for the heat to disperse around the house. An hour during which some heat-giving apparatus is strapped to my person at all times, along with a bottomless cup of hot beverage, and possible a blanket toga. However, overzealous feeding of the stove makes it start to feel like Spring Break in here, and my brain just wants to stretch out with a gin and tonic in front of the fire in a bikini, which isn’t so conducive to writing about The Science.
2. Attire: Like I said, nothing on me is sharp, tight, constrictive, or sexy. Sometimes I’ll look at a J.Crew catalog and briefly fantasize about pencil skirts and slingbacks and witty blouses. Sometimes. Mostly I try to maintain a super baseline level of presentability so that I’m not utterly ashamed when surprised by the UPS guy. It isn’t really the best standard to hold yourself to when it comes to feeling career sexy.
3. Woeful Ergonomics: Yes, this is my own fault. There was a time, in an office in faraway Massachusetts, when I had a widescreen Mac and swivel chair and one of those gel wrist pillow things. No more. Today, I have the back pain and furtive tingling promise of carpel tunnel to remind me of days gone by as I sit on a shitty wooden chair of improper height at a laptop at the kitchen table.
4. Daily Flexibility: True, I can take free time whenever I like, but like a student, the thought of pending homework is always creeping around my brain threatening to spoil my next bowl of popcorn. The fact that I technically can work from anywhere means I often feel like I should be working everywhere. The fact that I am at home means feel I should also being doing the laundry or chopping wood or pushing dog hair around with a broom.
5: No Awkward Pleasantries: Umm, no one sees me. Lack of human interaction…usually not the best thing for mental health.
I know I’m not the only one out there feeling this way… In fact, check out The Oatmeal’s less wordy graphic interpretation of the awesomeness and the agony by clicking right here. (Previewed below.)