As many of you know, I work from home. This provides me with a quiet, secure atmosphere where I can really concentrate, and think, and focus on my writing, until a strange-looking insect crawls by on the floor and distracts me for 20 minutes.
Working from home really seems to be a dream for a lot of Americans. I know this because, when I tell people I work from home, they always seem very happy for me. The conversation usually goes like this:
Person: "So, where do you work?"
Me: "Oh, I work from home."
Person: "Oh, Good for you!" they say, with this bizarre enthusiasm, as if I just told them that I'm going on a round-the-world hot air balloon ride, and when I get back, I'll be volunteering at a soup kitchen for disfigured orphans.
You know what I don't do when people ask me where I work? I don't make some stupid joke about how short the commute is. You know what I mean:
Person: "So, where do you work?"
Home worker: "Oh, I work from home! Just get out of my bed and go right to my desk. Such a short commute! HAHAHAHAHA!"
I don't do this because this is the single most overused joke in the long human history of jokes. Actually, I take that back: it's the second-most overused joke. The most overused joke is the one where the waiter walks up to your table, and sees that you've finished some dish, and sarcastically says: "Oh, I see you HATED that!" And then everyone at the table chuckles awkwardly, when what you're really thinking is how you want to stick your fork in the waiter's eyeball, pull it straight out of the socket, and eat it raw, right in front of him, while screaming: "I really hated THIS too! HAHAHAHAHA!"
But anyway, back to working from home. The thing about working from home is that while it's comfortable, and relaxing, and peaceful, it isn't as glamorous as everyone seems to think. And so, in today's column, I'm going to demonstrate why this is by taking you through a typical day.
8:30 a.m.: I awaken and immediately check CNN.com for all the latest news. Instead, I learn about Miley Cyrus's dietary habits.
8:37 a.m.: I walk downstairs where I discover my girlfriend, who has been diligently working since 7 a.m. I attempt to engage her in conversation, but she's busy. I realize, at this moment, that I may actually have to begin working soon.
8:42 a.m.: I sit down at the computer and begin thinking of a column idea. This primarily involves looking in the mirror to assess whether I'm losing my hair.
9:02 a.m.: A strange-looking insect crawls by on the floor and distracts me.
9:37 a.m.: My girlfriend informs me that she's leaving for work. I decide, at this moment, it is time to really start working, so I open Microsoft Word. Staring back at me is every writer's dream: a blank page. A blinking cursor. An entire document full of possibilities, like virgin snow, or untamed wilderness, or —
9:37:08 a.m.: Why is it called Microsoft "Excel"?
9:37:10 a.m.: And "Power Point." Why's it called "Power Point?" What the hell is a "Power Point?"
9:37:14 a.m.: I mean, I get why it's called Microsoft Word. But the other ones?
9:37:28 a.m.: And why is it called "Microsoft Office?" This isn't an office. I work from HOME dammit. I don't have an office.
9:37:34 a.m.: Unless of course you're the IRS, in which case I do have an office, and it encompasses roughly 90 percent of the total square footage of my home.
10:24 a.m.: I continue thinking up column ideas by browsing eBay for cool shit.
11:18 a.m.: I realize I have lost track of the strange-looking insect.
11:20 a.m.: What if it eats me as I sleep?
11:21 a.m.: I begin researching insect death while sleeping.
12:04 p.m.: I've put in a long, solid morning, and it's time to go to lunch. Every day, I walk to the same exact sandwich place, where my order is taken by the same exact guy wearing the same exact flannel shirt. I've been doing this for four months now, every single day. I can tell he wants some sort of relationship, but can't he see I'm BUSY, dammit? I work from HOME, for God's sake. I'm WORKING here, doing IMPORTANT things while I wait for my meal.
12:04:35 p.m.: I browse through the available Emojis.
12:04:38 p.m.: I notice a "guy with turban" Emoji. I wonder: how many people have complained to Apple about "that Muslim clipart guy"? Probably a non-zero number.
12:20 p.m.: I go home with my sandwich to watch 60 Minutes. As I sit there, I wonder why the hell I can't be like these guys. After all, I'm a real journalist, just like Steve Kroft, or Bob Simon, or Lesley Stahl. Why the hell do they get to be on television? Why do they get to bring the cool stories to millions of Americans? Why do they get to do this awesome stuff, and I don't? I mean, seriously, what the hell separates them from me?
12:22 p.m.: I pick the lint from my belly button.
12:29 p.m.: I finish my sandwich and swear I will now begin working, but only after a brief read through the Wikipedia article on D.B. Cooper.
4:04 p.m.: Somehow, I am now on the Wikipedia article about Neptune. I have no idea how this happened, although I have learned a lot in the last three-and-a-half hours. For example: did you know that the Canadian prime minister gave orders to shoot down a Korean Air Lines flight over the Yukon Territory on 9/11? They scrambled jets and everything. Of course, the whole thing turned out to be a big miscommunication.
4:05 p.m.: I've got it! I'll write a column about THAT!!!!
4:10 p.m.: My girlfriend calls, asking if I can pick her up from work. "Honey," I reply sternly. "I'm busy."
4:20 p.m.: I've got a title for my column. That's good work for now. As a reward, I'll log on to G-Chat for a couple minutes.
5:47 p.m.: I'm engaged in a fever-paced G-Chat discussion with my friend Mark about Lexus IS 300 wheel designs. At this moment, my friend Phil logs on and sends me a message.
Phil says: hey man
How was your commute
From the bed to the desk,
pretty long, huh?
5:48 p.m.: It is at this moment I realize that I must log out of G-Chat, give up for the day, and start again tomorrow. I also realize that if I ever see Phil again, I'm going to chop him up into tiny pieces and feed him to the strange-looking insect on my floor.
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.