Monday, July 13, 2020

I Need A Door

There are four of us working from home these days. My husband’s been doing so since mid-March. He retreats to his home office, shuts the door, and does his thing, coming out occasionally for something to drink or eat, or occasionally to say hello (or give me a kiss, which prompts the girls to go, “ewwww!”). We can hear him talking on the phone and typing—he’s a LOUD typist—and the dog’s nose is permanently out of joint for not being able to retreat there in the mornings as she used to do. 


Banana Girl is balancing three internships from her bedroom. We’ve moved a table and my desk chair up there, but most times, depending on what she’s doing, she’s working from her bed. We hear her occasionally. She has a habit of texting me for food, drink or information. My Fitbit is happily recording my extra steps as I run to do her bidding.


The Princess is parked at the dining room table with me. She has her two computers, coffee, ear buds and random stuff spread out. She usually remembers to switch seats when she Zooms so that the rest of us—namely me—are not visible to her work people. And she occasionally steals borrows my desk chair from her sister, although that requires me to go upstairs and get it, and then go back upstairs and return it.


The fourth one of “us” is me. I’ve been working from home forever. I have a desk in the living room, but it’s not my favorite place to be when I’m trying to be creative. And now that it has no chair (see above), it’s even less of my favorite place to be. I’ve always moved around the house, depending on my mood and my location needs. I’m considerably more confined now.


Don’t get me wrong. I love the togetherness, and I also am really enjoying witnessing the Princess’ professional demeanor—no, I’m not paying attention to what she’s doing or saying, but I do get to hear the change in her tone of voice when she talks to other people, and see the clothes she wears for her Zoom conferences. It’s something I would never get to witness if she were working on site. 


However, it’s impossible to write kissing scenes when I’m sitting next to my daughter. It’s impossible to keep the creative momentum going when I’m getting texts asking for assistance, and I’m the only person with enough freedom to provide that assistance. It’s impossible to convince anyone that yes, my presence on social media is truly for marketing purposes, so when you’re talking to me, you’re actually interrupting my work. 


It also means I have to “people” significantly earlier in the day than I’m used to. 


I’m the one without the door. I could go upstairs and close the bedroom door and work there—until the Princess decides she needs to pace and our room has the perfect amount of floor space (if you saw her room, you’d understand why that’s not an option). Not to mention that Banana Girl would turn on the heat if I hadn’t expressly forbidden her from touching the upstairs thermostat (yes, even during July), and the Princess likes the upstairs to feel like the Arctic, pre-climate change. I could go down into the basement, but it’s cold down there and the ceiling creaks with everyone home and walking around over my head—or should I say, pounding. For skinny people, they make a lot of noise. 


So I still wander, but my wandering is usually confined by who else needs to be somewhere. And the dog and I give each other looks as we look longingly at where we’d like to be.

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