So today marks nine months that I’ve been working from home. It’s probably about the same for some others out there as well. That third week in march is when (some of) the country really started shutting down. I didn’t think I’d still be doing these quarterly “work from home” selfies for so long. Now I’d say there’s a pretty fair chance there will at least be a March 2021 edition as well. It no longer feels odd, and that worries me.
I’ve created something pretty cool over these nine months (hint: it’s not a child)but I can’t share it just yet. Soon…
So for Thanksgiving (U.S., observed), I:
- Tried unsuccessfully to sleep late.
- Texted greetings to several friends.
- Finally ponied up for a full paid subscription to Newspapers.com since there’s a sale and it will have tremendous benefit to my research (and it’s cheaper and more useful than Hulu or Netflix).
- Made disparaging comments about Lutheran sushi egged on by Andrew Turnbull.
- Went for a drive downtown and in the surrounding area and took pictures.
- Spent some quality time with Perry Mason (on DVD rather than on the aforementioned Hulu or Netflix).
- Did a load of laundry.
- Killed off some leftovers.
- Tugged the turkey for a bit (inside joke).
- Did not resent for a single moment the fact that lining up to get into Walmart later tonight would not be an option.
- Considered (and then thought better of) trying to fix my bathroom sink.
It was actually just the day I needed.
Ten years ago this month, it felt like my life was falling apart.
I had sex for the first time on National Coming Out Day.
Actually, it was 11 October 1980, and there wasn’t really a National Coming Out Day yet; that didn’t happen until 1988.
But it was good enough for me, anyway.
I was 16. My parents were doing something that night and I had the night off from McDonald’s, so I drove up High Point Road to the neighborhood dirty bookstore. Somehow, without being told, I instinctively knew that was a place where things might happen. Maybe it’s because the place was called “Dudes.” Once illegally inside, I browsed the literature that was on display, much of it more photographic than textual. And older guy (he must have been thirty) approached me and somehow coaxed me into one of the video (actually 8mm film, I think) viewing rooms in the back. Things happened. Surprisingly many things. I was not as shy as I might have expected.
It was not really all that enjoyable. I wasn’t really excited by the guy. I was just excited by the fact that it was finally happening. There was a certain inevitability about it; it was something that just needed to happen with whomever happened to be handy. I have no idea what the guy’s name was. I didn’t really care all that much. I still don’t. To be brutally honest, I just sort of needed to get it over with so I could (a) know for sure it was what I was supposed to be doing, and (b) start focusing on doing it right with people I was actually attracted to.
I may have done it at that bookstore one more time, but I quickly graduated to the tearoom scene, because the mall was ultimately a safer place for a high school kid (especially one with a fairly recognizable car) to hang out than the dirty bookstore. I had fun with it. I regret nothing.
As an adult, though, despite the fact that I had sex in some fairly lurid and semi-public places, I never really did the bookstore scene again. It always kind of gave me the willies.
My first time was a checkbox on a list, not a romantic scene from a movie. And I’m really OK with that. I think the number people who hear angels playing harps or whatever the first time they have sex is probably not very great.
And just to complete this romantic story, Dude’s Adult Books became a sketchy used tire store several years ago.
Two more months of working from home and things are pretty much the same, except that I’ve actually restored my sanity by taking a couple of very no-contact and socially distant trips.
More random thoughts:
- I was worried that distractions would be a problem while working from home. That really hasn’t happened. I stay pretty laser-focused on work for eight or more hours a day. I don’t really even do any random web surfing (abandoning a couple of social media platforms has helped in that regard) and I don’t take Perry Mason breaks. I’ve gotten much more done than I probably would have in my office since March.
- Managing during remote work is just like managing onsite. Your good people do good work and don’t need prodding. Your less good people remain problematic, but they can’t see you scowling and gritting your teeth.
- I’ve hit a schedule groove: Coffee and breakfast with a hour of work, and then I shower and dress before going back to work for the rest of the day. Lunch at 1.
- I actually go into the office for a few hours every two weeks or so to take care of some things that have to be done in person, to stage things for my staff to work on from home, and to remind myself that I do work for an organization with a physical presence.
- As that physical presence is in fact a university library, I’m glad I work in a nice, locked IT department where no students can ever intrude or exhale.
- I’m also glad that I still have a job at all, especially one that I can just as successfully (and in some cases more successfully) do from home.
- The pimento cheese fascination wore off, but not the grilled pepper jack thing. I’m snacking less (thank the Great Pumpkin for that) but also doing less takeout (which may not be a good thing).
I’m curious about others. Are any of the three of you who still read this working from home? How’s it going for you?