“I work at home.” I’ve always liked the way that sounds; it’s so casual, so nonchalant. High tech people call it the virtual office, virtual work. After thinking that over I realize I don’t know what that word means so I look it up in the dictionary. Virtual: being so in effect but not in fact. I still don’t know what it means but it sounds easy. I’ll start tomorrow—tomorrow or the day after. I’m not looking to work myself to death here.
08:16 Exactly sixteen minutes late on this first day of working at home. On the bright side I woke up at 08:05—try doing that if you have to drive to the office. I tried it all the time. I promised myself I’d dress as if going to work every day just to be more professional about this whole experiment. I’ll put on something besides a pair of boxers when it’s time for my first break away from the computer. Now I’m just going to concentrate and let the inspiration overwhelm my senses.
08:17 I need a little light in here. I’ll open up the blinds. What are those workmen doing down there? It looks like one of them has climbed down into a hole in the street. I’ve heard stories about people flushing baby pet alligators down the toilet only to have them grow to Amazonian lengths. They stalk the nether worlds of the sewers. But never mind all of that, I have work to do, important ideas to express.
08:31 The workmen are just fixing a water main. It only took a couple minutes out of my hectic day to clear that up—plus it forced me to get dressed. The guys said they had never seen a giant alligator in their years of working beneath the city, but they didn’t rule out the possibility. One of them said he saw a rat building a nest out of car tires. As soon as I get back upstairs I close the lid to the toilet and put a stack of heavy books on top of it. A four iron leans against the sink. Lock and load.
09:21 I can’t get over all of the benefits of working at home. No commute, no distractions from coworkers, no silly Machiavellian games, and if I get drunk and make an ass out of myself at my employee Christmas party, I’ll be the only one to know. On the down side it isn’t much fun stealing office supplies from myself. One more thing that may become a problem: I don’t get paid.
10:11 I had to walk over to the office supply store to buy a new printer cartridge just in case I finish the piece I’m working on. I picked up a few other things for the home office—or for the ‘old Home-O’ as I told the girl at the store. She smiled at me. I’m sure she’s had her fair share of fantasies about freelance writers. What woman hasn’t? I also bought a refrigerator magnet of Mussolini hanging from the gallows. It’s a promotional thing for a new TV show, World’s Funniest Public Executions (airs this fall).
11:24 Time to break for lunch. I like taking lunch early because then I can dedicate the entire afternoon to work, absolutely no distractions, a tabula rasa, which is Latin for “my bootleg cable is out.” I order carry-out from the Thai restaurant next door. I get something healthy. I need to keep my body and senses honed like a razor to make it as a freelance. I also remember that I no longer have health insurance.
11:57 The Thai food was delicious although I did augment it with a little something from my refrigerator. Have you ever noticed that most foods taste better when you add bacon? Even tofu. Especially tofu.
11:58 Now it’s time for a little routine I have developed through years of martial arts training and the study of Eastern thought. I take ten minutes to put myself into a meditative trance, much like sleep but infinitely more beneficial and rewarding. Afterwards I feel refreshed and alert. In the words of my Sensei, “Napping is a tool of the lazy.” I’ll be right back.
3:12 I need to hit Starbucks.
3:33 I must have hit my head on something while in my transcendental state to knock me out cold for over three hours. No more procrastinating, time to buckle down and get some work done. I’ll listen to my favorite radio call-in show while I work.
3:56 I can’t believe they’ve had me on hold for twenty minutes. Don’t they know how valuable my time is?
4:25 I’m a little behind today so I’ll just have to stay past quitting time. It’s not like I’m any stranger to hard work. I wonder how much money I’ll make being a freelance writer. Speaking of money, let me take a second to call my broker.
4:35 Surely he is speaking hyperbolically when he says that if my stock portfolio drops any further two big guys in bowling shirts will show up at my apartment to rough me up. I’m not worried because by putting pen to paper my money concerns will soon be far behind me. But I’m an artist and I really don’t care about all of the money I will make. Money is the concern of merchants and businessmen. The artist is above all material concerns.
4:48 Just took a few minutes to call some jewelry stores to find out who has the best deal on Rolex watches. Is it still uncool to wear fur coats? OK, back to work. I’ll work into the small hours of the morning if necessary. I guess you could say I’m a workaholic.
5:12 I was just taking a brief look at the newspaper. I read all the box scores, did 1/16 of the crossword (I could have finished it, I’m just too busy), read the comics (man are they stupid), my horoscope (only for losers but it’s fun to read), any and all articles with the word “sex” in the headline, and finally the movie section. Got to wrap it up for the day; there’s a bargain matinee playing Sunset Boulevard. I’ll finish up the writing thing tomorrow. Tomorrow is Friday and I'm supposed to go skiing. After tomorrow is the weekend, so make that on Monday. Wait, Monday is Arbor Day. Anyone who works on Arbor Day should just go back to Russia or whatever country we’re mad at these days. So make it the day after.