Saturday, August 1, 2009

Working from home?

(Why i took up a job again)

Working from home sure got advantages, at least in theory. You can keep your own time. No hassle of dressing and going out. No worry about traffic snarls and jams. No boss breathing down your neck.

I had been working at home for years. Now the kids are grown i thought i’d start working from home. What’s the difference, you might ask. Well, a woman working at home is called a housewife or, ‘home maker’ by some folks who feel bad to call a spade a spade. In other words, when the home is your work, you’re working at home. But when you’re working from home, you could be a doctor, architect, whatever.

Having had enough of housewifery or homemakery, i dub myself Freelance Writer and start tapping on the keyboard whenever i can. Today, the family’s all gone out and i have the house and the PC all to myself. Great!

But soon as i sit down, there comes a loud cry from the washing machine. Someone had loaded laundry and left. The machine, (bought at a discount sale) often gives these distress calls when left alone with the washing. I rush to help.

Then the phone rings. “Mamma, i left a number on a piece of paper somewhere on the dining table. Please find it and call me,” said my daughter.

After doing that, i just manage to type a couple of sentences when the phone rings again. It’s my husband this time. “There’s a file called ‘corrections’. Find it and mail it to me. It may be on the desk top or in E drive or....” I search all over, among lots of folders and files. I find it at last and mail it.

Another call. It’s now my son’s turn. “What was the name of that Titan in Greek myth who gave fire to humans?”
“I don’t remember.”
“The gods punished him for it. They tied him to a rock and....”
“I need it for my debate. Please find the name and call me back.”

No question of I-search on a slow dialup connection with constant worry about phone bills. So i think hard, and remember we had a book of Greek myths somewhere. I try the bookcase where books are shoved in and piled up anyhow. Searching for a book in our bookshelf is like the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack. I proceed to turn the cabinet inside out. I find it after a long search and call up my son.

The doorbell rings now. The moment i open, a sales girl rattles off “Madam, beauty care instruments for ladies, for removing unwanted hair...” demonstrating a battery run razor.
“I don’t use such things”, i tell her.
“Just try it, madam; for shaving eyebrow.”
“My eyebrow doesn’t need shaving.”
“Or armpit.”
“I don’t want to shave my armpit, thank you.”
“Or you can give it as present to someone.”
After about twenty minutes of point counter point, i buy the razor i’m never going to use.

Just as she leaves, there comes a signal from the washing machine; washing done. I lug the clothes up the stairs to the terrace and hang them one by one. So many small pieces—socks, hankies, etc. It takes a long time.

The moment i sit down again, the doorbell clangs once more. A young man flashes his card saying “I’m from the gas agency, i’ve come to check...”
“No need. They’re all right.”
“Better check, madam, there’s danger of cylinder burst”, he insists.
He manages to scare me enough to let him step into my kitchen. He lights a match and holds it under the stove knobs, smells the pipe, peers at the regulator, and so on. Then he takes out a new tube, a cleaning kit and other knick-knacks and tries to sell them. But i had no money, having given all the cash at hand to the sale girl.

He leaves reluctantly. I go back to typing.
The phone. “How do you pronounce c-h-a-r-a-d-e?” my daughter asks. I tell her how i pronounce it.
“See the pronouncing dictionary. I’m arguing with my friends.”
Once more, i turn the bookcase inside out. I pull out Daniel Jones after a patient search, and call back my daughter.

I sit down before the comp again, now wondering what on earth i was trying to put down. I sit staring at the screen, but all ideas have flown away. And it’s getting late. Time to start cooking.

Working from home is not working out for me.


feddabonn said...

[wry smile]

...a teeny weeny bit exaggerated? it does worry me that it may not be!

mnowluck said...

heheehehe.. I love your writing style :D

mesjay said...

@Feddabonn, teeny weeny perhaps, but not much :)

@Mnowluck, thanks, so glad you do.

Calliopia said...

Fun read. I can relate to some of that. Never a dull moment when you have important paperwork at home.

aduhi said...

Nice post. I think I would go mad if I have to work from home, claustrophobia will set in, and home has always been the place where you forget the workplace completely.

mesjay said...

@Calliopia, strange how someone or other would keep calling if you have work to do, but leave you alone when you want them to call.

@Aduhi, sometimes i hate getting out of home, that's when i begin to toy with the idea of working from home. Not very practical, really.

illusionaire said...

lolzzzz @ fedd: The one you're looking for is Prometheus.

We studied the poem in school too.

Prometheus Unbound.

Still fettered,
still unconquered,
still in pain,
Bold in his hope and steadfast in his right...

@ Pi Mesjay: Yeah same thing with me. If I want, I can skip office and work from home. But so far, the need to do that hasn't arise yet and I love office. But many of my colleagues do work from home as the internet is our medium of work and we are in it anyway, regardless of whether we're at home or office.

But of course, when you got so much going on, working from home is definitely not for you :-)

mesjay said...

@Wow!Illusionaire, you seem to be quite into the Classics too, among your diverse interests.

It's nice to be in the office, nice to meet your colleagues. But having to take bath and get dressed is such a problem! :)

Anonymous said...

Didn't read the whole thing but can imagine how working from home might not really work out for a full-time mom.
Also, about the greek god, I guess since you were already on the computer, might've tried googling "greek human fire", and the first result comes up with Prometheus! :P

mesjay said...

@Blackestred, yeah, but i didn't occurn to me! And working from home sure isn't easy.

Sekibuhchhuak said...

Ti zawng hian ka ngaihtuaha, Nu ber ina awm chunga hna thawk thei chu fate tan chuan a hlut viau ka ring. Sikul bang kan han hawng a, nute ina an lo awm ngei hi chuan a dan a dang khawp mai. A hlu ka ti.

Rita Zoye said...

Thats why we love our 'MOM'.. They (You) are the best..

mesjay said...

@Seki, ni e, naupan lai chuan haw veleh kawngka atangin nute kan koh thin kha.

@Rita, Moms are best, yes. But i'm not quite one of the best (though i try).

Darshan Chande said...

Nice post. But sad end. I wish I could work from home. It's my dream to get rid of working and earning sitting at home and writing things... I would love that life!

wormwood said...

slander I least I hope it was. I'm still not sure on c-h-a-r-a-d-e.....