Working from Home

5 Aug

bird blog

Working from home is a luxury that is not meant for everyone. Kind of like fancy champagne, or a nice white blouse. Fancy champagne is expensive and classy, but *some people* *accidentally* drink it like they’re dehydrated ants, swimming in a pool of water after having survived a Californian drought. (It’s now occurring to me that it’s more likely for an ant to survive a drought than a bath in a small pool of water…but I’m from the East coast, so I’m no expert.) Drinking so much champagne that you end up doing somersaults in a skirt is probably an indication that you are not equipped to deal with the refined luxury of “da fizzy drank” (how fancy people refer to “champagne”).

Similarly, a crisp white shirt should not be wasted on someone who can, and will, spill three different, unidentifiable liquids on it before the hour of 10AM. White is not the “new black” if your shirt is so stained and dirty that it’s black; black can’t be the “new” black, THAT’S NOT HOW FASHION WORKS.

My parents both have the luxury of working from home a few days a week. For a long time, I thought that “working from home” meant responding to emails, in between bubble baths and re-runs of Dawson’s Creek. Not because this is what my parents do all day, but because I know myself well enough to know what I would do all day.

My sisters and I have been known to stand incredulously in front of our mom and ask her why she “just can’t” take three hours out of her “workday” to bring us to lunch and a movie. Why is that such an outlandish request when we know that all she does is respond to emails? Why must we “speak quietly”? What’s so wrong with loudly announcing that the dog’s “butt crack looks open and poised for number two” and that I “refuse to take her out because I ALWAYS do it”?

My mom often resorts to taking calls in her closet, like a brunette, non-twin Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap.

My mom takes the closet, and my dad takes the basement. Because everyone knows that nothing spurs brain activity and creativity more than mold-infested dens full of dusty exercise equipment and headless dolls.

Every morning, when I realize I’ve neglected to transport my clean clothes from the basement to my bedroom, have nothing to wear, and am running 30 minutes late, I throw open the basement door and run down the stairs, like some kind of deranged Justin Bieber fan. I bang and stomp and rattle, only to hear Dutch voices coming from the speakers of my dad’s computer. He is on “a call” with his Dutch “co-workers,” and I have just caused them to ask if my dad will need to take tomorrow off to assess the damages from what sounds to be the largest earthquake in the history of the East coast…

This is working from home: a luxury that cannot always be enjoyed, even by those who deserve to enjoy it.

This week, I had a mid-day dermatology appointment. For some, an appointment like this wouldn’t last more than fifteen minutes. I, however, am a dermatologist’s fucking dream. With the skin of a delicate Irish flower, but the ability to tan and speckle like an elderly Italian farmer, there is no chance of me getting out of an appointment in under an hour. My dermatologist, and her lanky – often unannounced – Lance Bass-esque assistant, poke and prod and take pictures of my freckles and moles with their fancy iPads (and I silently curse myself for wearing a thong because now they definitely think I’m a freckle-faced harlot).

It’s like one of those episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, where some kid walks in with two heads and everyone is all like, “YES, AMAZING,” and then they fight over who gets to surgically separate the two heads, and then Dr. Yang obviously wins because she’s a boss with zero bedside manner, and then everyone takes tequila shots and finds someone to bone in an on-call room. I am responsible for so many dermatology babies (and pregnancy scares!) that Shonda Rhimes should really be taking notes from me.

But I digress.

Because leaving my appointment and commuting to work for a two-hour window of the afternoon seemed like a huge waste of time, I opted to work from home.

The day was largely productive. The house was quiet, and I was actually getting shit done.

Why not take my work outside, onto my screen porch, like one of those poets who needs to be “closer to nature” to put pen to paper? (We all know that Henry David Thoreau just built that tiny cabin in the woods to preemptively vie for an appearance on HGTV’s Tiny House, Big Living. He was definitely just a beanie-wearing hipster, writing on his parent’s suburban porch. Then again, there is something gratifying about someone who “simply cannot work” unless they have the unconditional support of their heirloom tomato garden.)

It was actually quite peaceful. Nothing but the chirping of birds and the clicking of my fingers against the keys, typing away like the professional I am.

But then, there was a link. A link to a video. Well, OK, full disclosure, it was the link to Hulu, and I consciously typed it into my browser. But still. THERE WAS A LINK.

Four minutes into an episode of Inside Amy Schumer (the one where she says “pussy”…oh wait…) and I heard a deafening “THWAP.”

It was the call of nature. No, not that call: a different call.

A bird had flown face-first into my porch.

I jumped out of my chair and ran over to the screen door to assess the damage.

What I saw can only be described as a bird with a twisted neck, dragging itself along the patio.

I ran inside the house, yelling to my sister, “Cecelia, help! There’s been an accident!” She was “napping” and apparently “didn’t hear me.”

I ran back outside and feverishly started Googling, “How to fix a bird with a broken neck without getting attacked by said bird and also do birds carry Zika virus???”

Google was largely unhelpful, although there was one Yahoo forum responder – who I can only assume is a wise, old Jamaican man – with the following theory: “I think u can save the bird by taking it 2 da vet and see what the vet says or if he could save da bird.”

Mmmhmm. Not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all.

But there wasn’t time for da vet! Da bird was dying, and no amount of wise Jamaican advice would save it!

My sister finally came to see about da bird and immediately started laughing.

“This isn’t funny!” I said. “Can’t you see that this is an OMEN? Can’t you see that this bird scarified ITS OWN LIFE to make a point about slacking off while working from home? I AM AN UNPRODUCTIVE BIRD-KILLER.”

She accused me of making the situation about myself, which is completely ridiculous because I would never do something like that.

We decided the best thing to do was play the inspiring, stand up to cancer song, “Just Stand Up,” and hope for a resurrection.

Just as Mary J. Blige was about to go into an epic riff, a miracle occurred: THE BIRD STOOD UP. It looked dazed and confused, and its neck was severely swollen, but it was alive…which got me wondering if perhaps we’d just witnessed God at work…which had me wondering if God was still hanging out somewhere on my patio, and if I shouldn’t take this opportunity to make a few wishes, just for the hell of it…which had me thinking about that electronic toothbrush I’d wanted for my birthday but hadn’t received…

But NO! This wasn’t about me! This was about THE BIRD.

But back to me for a second. What did I learn from this experience? I learned that if you’re not responsible enough to work from home without taking breaks to watch feminist comedy shows, then you will be responsible for the near-death and/or swollen neck of a living creature.

Which is why, the next day, I brought headphones to work, so I could watch Inside Amy Schumer in the office.

Just kidding. I watched Broad City.

Just kidding. I would never watch TV at work. THESE HAVE ALL BEEN JOKES. (We all know the best jokes are the ones you need to clarify.)

I think I’m almost responsible enough to drink champagne, while wearing a white blouse. Don’t you?


UPDATE: The evening after the “bird incident,” I returned to the patio and found a big clump of white goo where the bird had been sitting. While it’s entirely possible that my neighbor’s fat cat came and attacked the poor creature, causing it to shit out of fear, I prefer to believe that God lifted it with her levitation powers, and then gingerly placed it on a bed of angel hair pasta (the bird equivalent of a Tempurpedic) in a field of daisies, before leaving her signature “white goo” sign-off mark on my patio…which, remarkably, resembles Crest toothpaste…which is the toothpaste I use…so does this mean I’m getting that toothbrush, or…











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