#590: Office Space – The Final Frontier

February 3rd, 2016

I’ve become one of the tucked away, the hidey-holed.

Somehow, in this world where for almost four years I’ve had to cobble together bits and pieces of work to make it past each month’s bills, someone decided to let me come in from 8:30 to 5 five days a week and they’ll even pay for some health care.

I have a little cube I might put a picture of something in.

It’s nice because of PTO and 401(k)s and health insurance (although I would not have been able to get through the freelance time without Obamacare, so thank you for that Mr. President).

But it was great because of Tuesday’s rain.

It came down a bit on Tuesday, a cold, sluggish winter rain stealing the sun away from us for the few hours we do get in February.

And I was warm and dry.

I wasn’t doing that day’s strive from a coffee shop, calculating how long I could continue to nurse an empty cup before a barista would guilt me into walking into the rain.

Nor was I working from home that day, glaring at the rain as another indicator that, fine, I wouldn’t be going outside today, either.

I was warm and dry with a few stories to edit, a few photos to track down and a place to do it with comfortable chairs I didn’t have to buy myself or rent with coffee.

After work, I wandered wet streets looking for somewhere to work on a freelance story — I kept and will keep it as a sidebar. Reasonable rates and prompt, professional service, by the way.

I ended up at the fourth-floor food court of that fancy-pants mall with the Nordstrom’s on Michigan Avenue.

The rain had been lousy for the shopping crowd, not that a mall food court would be a dinnertime rush place the best of days. But with a cold, sluggish winter rain keeping the homebound home and the officebound heading straight home the moment 5 hits, the food court was a small smatter of store employees on break.

And about three or four people on laptops, shuffling papers and juggling phone calls. The free and the freelance working from a mall food court on a cold wet night.

I realize my joy at some fluorescent lights and an IT help line might seem prosaic to some. But from 8:30 to 5 five days a week, I won’t be camping in food courts or blurring the already blurred divide between work and home.

I have work and a place to do it. Only the free and freelance can know how wonderful that feels.

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