Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This is way more words than I said out loud today

It dawned on me sometime I after I ate dinner, which I ate at no set time (just as I did with breakfast, and probably lunch, if I ate lunch today) that working from home isn't all that different from being a shut-in. Or a crazy person.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to remember if I had actually opened my mouth to emit sounds to another human being at any point today. By the barest of margins, I think I did. I'm pretty sure I called Leslie early this morning to make sure she was awake. She was kind of awake, I think. She may or may not be able to verify that I called her.

I also may have said hello to the woman at the laundromat when I went to dry my clothes. This is a little more theoretical in nature. There is one woman who works there whom I usually exchange greetings with. Taking Leslie out of the equation, she is the person I spoke to the most today. A grand total of (maybe) one word.

Yes, through the wonders of technology, I did "talk" to a number of people I like very much (in addition to Leslie even) and I communicated with people for work and e-mailed my boss. But when it came to the actual speaking of words out loud, I'm pretty sure the crazy guy down on the corner pointing his umbrella at passing cars and yelling about the James Garfield assassination theories had more person to person contact today than I did.

At the end of the day, most days, I am lucky enough to Skype with Leslie, and some days I even use a lot of words. Most  days I feel bad that conversations about my day go something like this:

LESLIE: (spends at least 20 minutes talking about her day because interesting things happen at her job and there are people there and she likes to talk and those people talk to her) How was your day, honey?

ME: Good.


ME: Yes. I sat silently at my computer, watched videos of boring people talking about boring things. Then I wrote about it. Then I may have boiled water for raviolis.


It's taken a while for me to get too concerned about this, because I'm of the general feeling that the less someone speaks to me and the less I speak to them, the better off the world will be. But it's getting to the point where I've noticed that there are signs that working from home is starting to become indistinguishable from being a maladjusted shut-in.

There are the things I worry about in order to make my workdays have some kind of normalcy, when in reality, those things make absolutely no difference. The most obvious is the whole getting dressed part of my day. Sometimes I wear pajamas, sometimes I change into more "not pathetic" clothes in order to feel some level of self-respect. After a few hours of that, I usually change back into pajamas, satisfied that I am now in my "night-time" pajamas and not my "work" pajamas. (And yes, they are almost always the same pajamas, regardless of how I label them.)

Then there are the other things I do to trick myself into feeling professional and respectable. There is the point in the afternoon when I'm getting near the end of work and wonder if it is too early to open a beer. Now, if I was working in an office with the boss in the next office, of course it would be too early to open a beer.

The reality of working at home is that I could be gathered around a campfire in my basement with crazy umbrella guy knocking back 40s of Colt 45 and I'd still be able to safely watch boring videos of boring people talking about boring videos and type about some of the boring highlights without causing undue harm to myself or anyone around. Because there is no one around me. And it is impossible to make stories about property tax rates sound any less confusing.

Maybe it's time for me to look to get back into the working world where I work with other working people. Maybe someplace that at least has a beer and pajama afternoon once (or twice) a week.


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