Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Working from home one year in. Help me Jesus.

I've been working from home for a little more than a year now. This is my report and I'll cut to the important part right away.
SNOW JOKE: Even cleaning off your car requires exertion.

Working from home can be very bad for your health and everything else.

We'll deal with health first.

Every regular job that takes you away from your house involves way more physical activity and movement than you might think.

First off, I'm not a guy who goes to the gym.

But at the very least, when I had an office job, every morning, I walked to where my car was parked. I know it doesn't sound like much but think about it. Working from home, I don't even HAVE to walk that measly distance.

Stay with me here.

Since we're down to the details, even dead simple activities such as getting into and out of the car entail more stretching and bending than is required if you don't get into a car. Come to think of it, moving my right arm up to change gears and twisting my neck to check my blind spots as I drive are activities that are no longer required.

Then, once at the office, I got all kinds of exercise. In a typical first hour of work, I would be up and down from my desk maybe 15 times. Mostly it was to join other people standing at the coffee machine. Sometimes, I just roamed from office to office bugging my co-workers  until they pointed out that they had real work to do and would I please leave them alone? But at least I was on the move.

Add lunchtime food runs to the mix and we're talking real exercise. If I was eating at the Woodbine Centre shopping mall,  I walked to my car (opening big glass office type doors) and then hoofed it from
JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH: Nourishment for the body and soul 
from the parking lot to the food court. Sometimes, I went to the hot-dog stand beside the huge evangelical church called "Catch The Fire," which was about a mile from our old office.  I'm not the only one who used to call their food Jesus dogs. The very friendly Latin American couple who run the place are named Mary and Joseph, a fact I and they agree is funny. They also gave me permission to use this photo, in case you're wondering.

Point being, food runs at work definitely involved more exercise than walking from this desk to the kitchen.

If  I wore a Fitbit, it would transmit emergency messages to somebody. "This man," the Fitbit would say if Fitbits talked, "is dead. He hasn't moved a limb in hours!"

So far today--and it's almost noon--I've walked from my bedroom on the third-storey of this house to the bathroom on the second floor, then down to the kitchen and finally to the living room, with a  trip to the basement to do the kitty litter. That's it.

At this rate, I'll weigh 398 lbs. by Christmas. I'm losing muscle tone by the minute and believe me there wasn't much to start with. You've heard of a trophy wife? I'll be atrophy husband!

Then there's that other big thing nobody warned me about.

For just over a dozen years, my daily commute involved a trip that, one way, usually took between a half hour and 90 minutes, depending on the traffic and weather. So let's say, every day, I was commuting for about two hours all told.

I miss that commute as if it were a long-lost lover.

Just moments before I started this blog, I caught myself  gazing out the window, fantasizing.

In my fantasy, I'm alone in my Malibu, stuck in traffic on the northbound 427, sipping coffee and listening, half-blast, to Frank Zappa's  Peaches en Regalia, or, maybe, on days where things hadn't been going so hot at home, a little Garth.  Another time, I might be laughing at the stand-up comic John Melaney's routine from about seven years ago where he talked about how Donald Trump is like a cartoon hobo's idea of what he imagines it's like to be a millionaire. "If I was rich I'd be putting up ta-a-a-all buildin's with my name on them. And I'd have fine golden hair!" 

Sometimes I'd opt to drive in silence.

But the choice was always mine. Private intimate self-indulgent moments that I  shared with my beloved commute.

What's more, the drive time played an integral part in my so-called professional development.

Each morning, the commute served as valuable waking-up time. Like being a pitcher in a bullpen. It was the perfect  time to strategize.

I'll give you an example. Say, for instance, you're a magazine editor. And let's say a day earlier, you produced a story about a certain industry and you tried to mention all the players in the story but you forgot one and that company happened to be a huge advertiser. And the story was now at the printing press. And you know that your boss knows but he hasn't "talked to you" about your mistake. Yet.

NOT DRIVING's me crazy.

Every nano-second of that commute and every nerve cell in your body are at rigorous work planning your explanation. It's on a day like that you hope traffic is especially snarled so you have ample time to figure out what you're going to say when the boss tells you the company might be out like $100,000 and why shouldn't he fire you on the spot?

Not that I've ever been in that situation but it is the kind of thing you might want to plan for during a commute.

Or vice versa.

Say the day's work is done. And you're headed home, looking forward to the evening because you're going to a Jays game and maybe later for a few beer with your brother Ed and friend John O'Callaghan. And you managed to make all those plans at the last minute but  you forgot to tell your significant other who is under the misapprehension that you're planning to stay home and watch that great old movie "Gaslight" with her on Turner Classic Movies.

See? You can use commuting to make big life-changing decisions. Message strategize. And perhaps stopping in a gift store while you're at it. Maybe I'll open one up between this room and the kitchen.


  1. The only difference between your dilemma and mine is that my (windowless) office is in the basement. The world could come to an end at ground level and I'd never know. And it has been years since I commuted anywhere; my recollection is that it was a chore rather than a pleasure, though as you say it does provide an opportunity to dwell on mistakes and plot excuses.

  2. You're in the youth of old age, no surprise

  3. I have worked from home for a year now and I totally agree with the exercise part. Also I tend to work at least one or two hours extra daily. Tried the fitbit to get me moving but that only lasted so long. lol