The Aromatic Life of a Freelancer:
I now measure my morning commute in feet, and bare tootsies at that. Laid off last fall, I bring home the lean bacon freelancing articles such as this one. My carbon footprint is fashionably petite.
If I fall out of bed at 8:30 in the AM, I consider myself on time for work when I hit the floor. I can be on the job in a matter of seconds. There is no one, or thing, to drag my productivity down: no gossip-crazed colleagues, jackknifed tractor trailer, clunky time clock, or squinty-eyed boss proffering silly questions or pointless assignments. It’s just me and the PC.
The minute I park my unwashed body in front of this screen, regardless of what transpires thereafter, I am a contributing member of society. Before stroking a single key, I have already saved the world vast quantities of harmful gaseous emissions (from my car anyway). Whatever literary chef-d’oeuvres that may result as the day progresses are icing on the cake.
For all its myriad advantages to me and humankind, freelancing from home is not for everyone. You are free, that’s beyond dispute: Free to do what you like, and if no one likes what you do, you are free to make a whole lot less money than you ever thought possible for someone of your vast experience and telling geopolitical insights.
But let’s not dwell on the negative – when the perks of self-employment are virtually innumerable. I won’t even bother to touch on the self-evident ones, like serial napping. Try this trick at your office: it is winter, the ponds are frozen, and you feel like knocking the old hockey puck around with some unemployed friends. Were I actually working for a journal, as opposed to writing for one, I can just imagine my annual performance review: “Dave disappears for hours at a time in cold weather and returns with apple-red cheeks and facial abrasions.”
I am looking forward to summer, when I can slip down to the little river that bounds our property to cool off from a long hot morning of freelancing. The dress code here is to die for: I will be soon announcing details on bare, naked Fridays.
My new status has been a big plus for the dog. When my wife and I were both working outside the house, Sophie was under the impression that the television room was her unique habitat. She lounged on the couch, burrowed into the rug, and curled up in the beanbag chair, although we were never able to catch her in the act.
When I got home and let her out one door, she would beat me to the other door to get back in. She was afraid of drizzle. Now Sophie and I undertake the most invigorating daily walks – rain, shine, sleet or snow – during which I quite often get absolutely brilliant ideas for articles. In fact, I think I can state without fear of contradiction that these perambulations are among my most productive hours of the day.
Freedom is not free, of course, or particularly remunerative, as I mentioned heretofore. The good news is that I have abundant time on my hands to economize in wondrous ways. I no longer frequent the drycleaners, for example, or the deli, or the barber. Happily, too, my need for certain products is greatly diminished since I don’t leave the yard for weeks on end. There is a veritable arsenal of consumer items that I no longer require, certainly not in the obscene quantities that I once did.
Shall we start with personal hygiene products? I used to shower almost every day before work, consuming vast reserves of water (hot and cold), soap (bar and liquid), shampoo, conditioner, shaving crème, disposable razors, aftershave, hand lotion, eye drops, deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste, dental floss, baby power, hair mousse, and just on and on.
After that ordeal, I should have emerged looking like George Clooney. What was I thinking? It probably took me an hour each day at work to break even on pharmaceuticals. And in the end, where did smelling like a rose ultimately get me?
Don’t be alarmed. I still bathe, and not just on Saturday nights. Every other week I try to work in a Wednesday ablution.