Judging from what I see on Instagram, where most of my acquaintances are either gainfully employed contemporaries or younger friends still in school, I’m well behind the curve in that today (Monday), six days after the commencement of the coronavirus quarantine in my community, was my first real work-from-home kinda day: had to log onto some complicated platform and then jump to another complicated platform where, before his computer crashed, one of my employers was showing us how to avail ourselves of its easy-to-use tools.
It was tricky, but mercifully brief.
And what occurred to me is that this shit is all so silly and sad: the fact that we’re turning up here with our college educations, with our private passions and hobbies and goals, and that the work we’re doing is estranged from pretty much all of those sunnier personal things. And that while there’s something decidedly sweet and human and humble to the fact that we all make this job tolerable and fun for one another, that there’s a real sense of community among us with real affection and solidarity, a stark fact here is that the thing by which we’re all most tightly bound as a group is this grim, shrugging, unspoken understanding that, were it not for the meager purse we so desperately collect every couple weeks, we’d all be doing something else.
This isn’t a profound thing to notice, I know, and it’s probably a sign of my arrested development that I haven’t just resigned myself to the fact that nobody is meant to do the thing that they enjoy; but my roommate is having some heavy thoughts about his own corporate goings on at the same time, about where he fits in with the corporation, about how much of his life and time and self he’s willing to feed the Machine…
It made me jump, after my work-from-home meeting, straight into watching another movie off the List (n.550, Sleuth) and to follow that up by writing this post, which’ll be followed fast by another piece of writing, and that in turn by another and another.
After a six-day respite from my daily jobs, in which time I’ve watched sixteen movies off the List and written probbaly ten posts and read a novel and a half, I’ve realized that this is the life I want. It’s fueled my ambition with a bleak reminder of what it’s like to show up for a job where I do nothing but to apply an anonymous touch in turning the gears of a machine that’ll do just fine without me.
The bond of drudgery shared among colleagues isn’t a manifestation of failure. This is just how life turns out for most of us. Our passions and dreams fall away, or we’re forced, by the necessary prioritizing of remunerative work, to relegate those sweeter things to life’s margins.
That’s how it goes.
To be able to do the work you want, and to live off of it, takes an obscene amount of work—and this first-day meeting motivated me to execute just that much of it.