Happy Anniversary to Me…

Yesterday marked an anniversary of incredible importance. I haven’t been to work for a year and a day. No, I haven’t been loafing about on my wife’s salary for all that time. I’ve been working from home; doing the same job as before but not actually doing it from the office proper.

Some of the changes wrought by this are pretty obvious. Sure I don’t have to commute to work any more and availability of lunch is absolutely assured. I’ve got an IP phone from my workplace so as far as the technology knows I’m sitting right there in the office next to Larry, Darrel and Darrel as I did before. My job is amusingly identical to what it was before: I have the same customers, do the same work, get annoyed about the same things and still bring home a paycheck. The ease with which this all happened is somewhat eerie to look back upon.

A few things, however, were more difficult to anticipate. Now I’ll admit that while I was in the office I was NOT the life of any party because frankly I don’t really understand parties and least of all office parties. I’m also pretty shitty at random office chit-chat as well so it’s really surprising that I would miss it. I consider myself an utter misanthrope but when it comes down to it I do (for some completely impractical reason) value the random inputs of other people no matter how bad I may be at metabolizing them. Even the most inane conversation was a welcome addition to my average day. This was not particularly noticeable until after I’d been away from the office for a few months and HAD no more random conversations. After a while I realized with a bit of a bump that I don’t really associate with anyone aside from my wife, her family and the people at work (plus or minus 1 or 2 previous co-workers who find their way into my life in some electronic medium or other). If you take away the people at work then I communicate with four different adults on a regular basis and three of them live in either this house or the one next door. That’s a terrifyingly small circle even for me. Clearly I need to go to a few more parties.

I also never thought I’d miss the drive but for some reason I do. When you commute for any period of time at all you learn the route with such clarity that most of your drive becomes a complete trance. It was during these moments of utter vehicular Zen that most of my blog entries came about. Without this ‘input from within’ my blog entries quickly deteriorated into vacuous personal garbage. I daresay even my work suffered as most of my truly inspired ideas originated in those 45 minutes of Zen coming home from work. Clearly I need to go to more parties where the guests all just stand around staring off into space.

All this said I’m more than compensated for any of these loses. Our laundry is ALWAYS done and our house has never been more secure from burglary since I’m here on guard an average of 23 hours and 50 minutes a day. I’ll simply keep replacing the background office babble with the droning of CNN and perhaps take up a nice redundant hobby to regain my Zen oneness of self… perhaps I’ll whittle myself a stand for this office phone of talk to these plants for an hour a day and explain to them our system of government.

16 Comments

Filed under personal, work

16 responses to “Happy Anniversary to Me…

  1. Dan

    Rob, I didn’t know that you were working from home for such a long stretch. I actually envy you, but (like you) would probably also miss the chit-chat. I guess there is some biological, evolutionary need. Certainly the more folks we have around us, the more we’re “protected” from, say, saber tooth tigers and such. It’s hard to shake that innate tendency for community.And regarding your Zen car trips, perhaps a nice walk every now and then would do. During the day, the sidewalks in my area are pretty vacant (come to think of it, they’re pretty much always vacant! dam cars!) If you live near any hiking trails that would be even better!And you’re right about the laundry. I’m working from home today. The clothes will be coming out of the dryer in, oh, about 10 minutes and 20 seconds. 😉

  2. Wow, good for you. I kinda have made a similar change.I don’t work from home much but I did move much closer to my job which had been previously an hour away. But to get there, i had to move from inner-city dallas (my hometown of over a million people) to the dinky family burb of bedford (pop. 50k, or so). I discovered that there is nothing at all to do here socially, unless you’re into elementary school soccer, tee ball, volley ball, church socials, or collecting ribbon shaped car stickers that say stuff like”support our troops” or “adam and eve, NOT adam and STEVE”. So i started riding my bike and walking, (2 things that were far too dangerous where i lived before). I’ve never been intersted in excercise before but now as a geezer or 42 i’m all healthy and crap. Quick smokin’ and hard booze even, Geez whooda thunk?Cheers

  3. That drive (on autopilot) is a great way to recharge and think about stuff. I occasionally work from home but haven’t worked out the self-discipline thing yet. I also like having someone physically there to bounce an idea on.

  4. Well, as someone who was responsible for fully 90 percent of the “random inputs” I must say, I have been substantially remiss in my duties now that you are a “remote” (not to be confused with the all important channel changing device).For what it’s worth, I miss the conversation too – the office has changed quite a bit – in ways you would have trouble believing.I’m continually fascinated by the dynamic in our particular workplace as it contains an interesting mix of personalities, from vicious to void. We mix developers and marketeers just a few cubes apart. There is a whole post of my own on that topic just waiting to be written (of course, everything is changing now that I’m rebuilding my primary site and ditching beancracker.com).Beware Rob, and prepare for the random inputs!

  5. You too huh? I’m pretty much constantly composing blog posts in my head in all idle moments. Posts that never see the light of day of course because I’m too freakin’ busy to write even a tiny fraction of them down. But for long periods of time, I think in “blog post”.You mean his other brother Darrel?Yeah, you do need to get out more, it sounds like. Being at home all day, you could keep an eye on the window and “happen” to go for your mail at the same time your neighbor does… You need a change os scenery from time to time too — what driving used to give you.Anyway, glad to hear your abode is so well guarded! 😀

  6. …and yes, perhaps those plants could do with a crash course in government…

  7. Rob

    Charleist,Yeah, funny, the other day when I was waiting on you at the steak place I wrote a blog entry in my head about how rude the woman sitting behind you was. It was wonderful rambling on about how rude people are in general and they have no time for each other. Then of course I didn’t have time to write it down. What a waste of thought.I dunno, the neighbor’s avoiding me I think since I got the blue mohawk. Old people have no fashion sense. Perhaps I’ll just ride the old exercise bike with the TV off and listen to the wind whistling through my ears as I cruise down those imaginary hills…

  8. Rob

    Trundling Grunt,Yeah, it’s really quite freaky. I went to the office basically just for the halibut the other day and it was amazing. I’d solved at least a couple of work problems I’d been cogitating on and worked out a woodworking design in 30 minutes or so. Clearly I need to just drive around a bit more.

  9. So, the laundry being done is better than getting to spend more time with your family?

  10. Rob

    Wife,My family isn’t home all day but the laundry… the laundry is home almost as much as I am. Unless we go out to lunch of course. The laundry loves a good chicken sandwich and it never complains if I steal it’s fries.

  11. But you would never get to get your child on/off the bus or out of the car if you worked in the office…. you’ve added about 3 hours of potential family time….

  12. Rob

    Chuck,Yeah, clearly there’s a limit to the amount of positive ‘zen’ driving a person can do. I think anything over 30 minutes is overkill so your hour sounds like a real drag. Glad you got out of that.And how can you say there’s nothing to do? Invite Wally and the Beav over for dinner! Well, either that or get a couple guys together, dress in drag and take a stroll down mainstreet. That might shake things up a bit. 🙂 Never forget the fun you can have with close-minded bigots!Exercise. Alright, now you’re freakin’ me out.

  13. Rob

    Wife,Family time… hrm… Wha…? Oh! Oh! You mean that time when I sit on the couch, watch football and scratch myself in embarrassing ways? Well, you ARE right about that! *scritch* *scritch* *scritch* 🙂

  14. Rob

    Dan,Yeah, it’s funny. When I left I wasn’t exactly celebratory about it but I didn’t consider the missing social aspect so much. No big deal though, I’ve replaced my officemates with quite a collection of paperdoll friends. “Hello Rob, how are you? What did you do this weekend.” “Oh nothing, just did some laundry.” “Oh, that sounds like fun, I did some Laundry too. It was just delicious. Have you tried new Tide Free yet?”…Sabretooth tigers aside, one certainly catches fewer colds.Sidewalks. Pfft. In suburbia? Here in Indy we don’t need no stinkin’ sidewalks. When I was a boy you could walk from one end of the town to the other and never even cross the street! Yeah! But now you can’t go anywhere unless you want to walk in the drainage ditch. *sigh* Though I could jsut walk around the big circle that is our neighborhood. Somehow walking isn’t the same somehow, all the distraction from those stabbing chest pains. I’m comin’ ‘Lizbeth!Yeah, nothin’ like the clarion call of the laundry buzzer. “I can’t deal with you now, stupid work issue. I have Laundry to extract promptly from the dryer!”

  15. You know… family time… like when I sit at my computer in one room and you sit at your computer in another room and we post stuff back and forth on your blog….

  16. Rob

    Wife,Hey, don’t knock it. I’ve met some DAMN fine ladies sittin’ around typin’ on the computer. Like one time there was this… ahh, never mind, you probably don’t want to hear about her.

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