You crazy Americans work longer and, maybe, harder than comparative first world countries and it’s insane. We have only a finite time on this earth and somehow you have perfected the system where there’s an agreed-upon dollar value for each hour of your life, so you can sell it to corporations, store owners, and any one else who can’t get people to do what they want through charm or threats of violence.
And I live here too, so I am also part of the problem.
What I want to talk about today is, if I really have to work (and my wife and my mortgage broker both seem to agree that I do), then what would be my perfect working day?
I’m pleased I asked…
It starts at 8am, where my dogs wake me up. I feed them, walk them, we say goodbye to my wife, who has a proper grown-up job, then we settle down to a morning of research. This, to an outside observer, may look very much like me drinking coffee and reading the Internet, but don’t be fooled: I am working.
The dogs are not.
I am filling my head with ideas, opinions, viewpoints, and subject matter for what comes next.
Well, not really next. Because what comes next is the dog-sitter arrives after lunch. And I then take my fru-fru laptop and join the throng of cool, attractive freelancers at a generic American coffee shop – outside in the summer, inside during those short winter weeks. We’re a community of loners, sharing the occasional nod or eyebrow inflection.
The barista knows what I’m about to order before I even get to the front of the line.
With an anti-Toska beside me and headphones pumping Radiohead softly into my skull, I start to bang out personal blog posts for all I’m worth. I spend two or three whole hours creating, editing, re-working, honing. I work on new stuff inspired by my morning of reading the Internet…research…and re-work the stuff I’ve already written but doesn’t feel done.
By around what I still like to think of as tea-time, I can close my perfectly engineered screen onto my perfectly calibrated keyboard, slide everything into my obnoxiously trendy shoulder bag, and head home.
I do this five days a week. Saturday mornings, I do a final edit on the month’s copy, upload it to the website, and set the date and time each one will be released.
Money?? I make money from advertising on the blog site, from touring and giving talks and readings (maybe during the really hot months, so I’m not melting in Austin), and maybe there’s a publisher hovering around with a book deal in hand. I know a fraction of a percentage of the workforce has this life. I would like to add my name to the waiting list.