Seven Years in Exile
May 01, 2013
Every other Wednesday I now go to An Office. Primarily so I can attend A Meeting. It is A Team Meeting, with members of My Team, who are all fellow grown-ups who spend multiple days a week in An Office, and who (as far as I can tell) manage to leave their homes on a regular basis while running little to no risk of injuring themselves on curbs, doorknobs or travel mugs of coffee.
I am getting better at that last part, I swear. Just give me a couple more Wednesdays.
To be fair, it's been seven years — almost to the DAY, actually — since I said goodbye to my office (and its accompanying office job). Seven years! No wonder I am rusty. Seven years of working from home, with no commute and no cubicles. No business casual clothing or someone else brewing the pots of coffee or a supply closet that was always magically stocked with my favorite red pens.
Seven years. Fat. Hot. Ham.
It took me a few years to really figure out what worked (part-time childcare, showering and getting dressed every day, email/internet ban outside of set working hours) and what didn't (using TV as a babysitter, being slovenly and disgusting, letting work bleed into a 24/7-type situation just because I was near a wifi-enabled device gaaahhhh better check on the Internet again).
(Oh, and keeping Coke in the house. At least at my office I needed to scrounge up a dollar in change in order to drink one. Turns out that unfettered access to Coke = I WILL DRINK ALL THE COKE.)
I like not having a commute. I like working and earning money and yeeeeesss, getting a break from the kids, but I also like being here and seeing them whenever I want to, and meeting Noah at the bus every day in the afternoon. I like that jeans and a t-shirt counts as an accomplishment. I don't mind that 99.9% of my daily interactions with people are over email or IM. Cable guy needs to stop by? Plumber coming over to fix something? No problem. I'll be here. Child has a doctor appointment? A field trip? No problem. I don't even have to give anyone a heads' up, most of the time.
And yet...I really like my every other Wednesday, when I have to wake up a little earlier, dress a little fancier, and drive a lot farther. I am not Amalah there; I'm Amy. And it feels good. It feels right. And so different than it did seven years ago, when I walked away from that world, when I closed my eyes and threw myself into blogging and freelancing and...well, I wasn't even 100% sure what I was doing at the time.
This time, I'm sure. It's a solid step forward instead of a breathless leap into the unknown.
Though I still don't understand the how the key to the office ladies' room works. Goddamn piece of shit takes 10 minutes of jiggling to open the door and AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.